Pakistan posts highest-ever annual inflation; stampedes for food kill 16 - GulfToday

Pakistan posts highest-ever annual inflation; stampedes for food kill 16


A relative mourns beside the body of a victim who died in a stampede, at a hospital in Karachi on Friday. AFP

Consumer price inflation in Pakistan jumped to a record 35.37% in March from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said on Saturday. Because of this thousands gathered at flour distribution centres across the country, as they could not afford the high costs of the products.
At least 16 people were killed in stampedes for food aid.




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At least 16 people, including five women and three children, have been killed in stampedes at such centres in recent days, police and officials have said. Thousands of bags of flour have also been looted from trucks and distribution points, according to official records.

A spokesman at the statistics bureau said the inflation number was the highest ever year-on-year increase recorded by the bureau since monthly records began in the 1970s.

People mourn the death of a relative at a hospital morgue in Karachi, Pakistan, on Friday. Reuters

The March inflation number eclipsed that of February's 31.5%, the bureau said, as food, beverage and transport prices surged up to 50% year-on-year.

"This is the highest ever inflation recorded in the data we have," he said.

The consumer price index was up 3.72% in March from the previous month, the bureau said.

Higher prices of food, cooking oil and electricity pushed up the index, it said.

Annual food inflation in March was at 47.1% and 50.2% for urban and rural areas respectively, the bureau said. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy, stood at 18.6% in urban areas and 23.1% in rural areas.

A man scans the prices on food packets at a supermarket.

A monthly economic outlook report issued by the finance ministry on Friday projected inflation would remain elevated.

The report cited market frictions caused by relative demand and supply gaps of essential items, exchange rate depreciation, and the recent upward adjustment in fuel prices as reasons behind higher inflation expectations.




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