Sharp increase in food prices pushes inflation up in Pakistan

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The SPI-based inflation showed positive growth after a decline last week. In recent months, the highest weekly inflation jump was recorded last November with rise of 1.81 per cent….reports Asian Lite News

The recent sharp increase in the food prices in Pakistan has again pushed the inflation up, forcing people to face difficulties amid multiple economic challenges faced by the country, a media report said.

Inflation measured through the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) posted an increase of 0.08 per cent for the week ended on January 6 driven by a sharp increase in the prices of essential food and non-food items, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Friday, reported Dawn.

The SPI-based inflation showed positive growth after a decline last week. In recent months, the highest weekly inflation jump was recorded last November with rise of 1.81 per cent.

The overall increase was mainly due to an increase of 5.23 per cent in potato price, followed by chicken 4.45 per cent, bananas 2.56 per cent, onions 2.12 per cent, pulse masoor 1.55 per cent, pulse gram 1.46 per cent and pulse mash 1.44 per cent. In non-food items, price of diesel and salt increased by 2.75 per cent each and petrol 2.68 per cent, according to Dawn.

It comes as Pakistan’s trade deficit surged due to the rise in imports.

The country’s trade deficit has surged to USD 24.79 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year, mainly on the back of a 63 per cent year-on-year increase in imports.

Data for the July-December period showed that imports jumped to USD 39.91 bn from USD 24.47 bn a year ago. In contrast, exports during July-December also grew 25 per cent to USD 15.13bn compared to the year-ago period, reported Dawn.

Imran due in China

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to visit China next month as the incumbent government is facing economic challenges and massive criticism by the opposition over mini-budget, rising trade deficit and inflation in the country, reported local media.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered the removal of red-tape hindering Chinese investment in Pakistan, as he prepared to visit Beijing next month to further cement the bilateral ties, The Express Tribune quoted Special Assistant to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Khalid Mansoor as saying on Wednesday, reported The Express Tribune.

Mansoor also said that Imran Khan ordered the removal of 37 regulations to ensure one-window operation for foreign investors. He added that the prime minister would personally be taking briefings on progress on CPEC projects every 15 days, said The Express Tribune.

It comes as Pakistan trade deficit surged to USD 24.79 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year, mainly on the back of a 63 per cent year-on-year increase in imports. The surge in trade deficit came from a massive rise in exports.

Data for the July-December period showed that imports jumped to USD 39.91 bn from USD 24.47 bn a year ago. In contrast, exports during July-December also grew 25 per cent to USD 15.13bn compared to the year-ago period, reported Dawn.

Pakistan is currently marred with financial challenges with opposition targetting the government over the mini-budget. PML-N Chief Shahbaz Sharif and PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto have criticised the ruling government for massive inflation in the country and had demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan over his government’s failure to tackle the challenges. (ANI)

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