Inflation at 50-year high in crisis-hit Pakistan
01 Apr 2023 05:37pm
A woman carries her child while she leaves with a free bag of flour from a government distribution point in Islamabad on April 1, 2023. Photo by Farooq NAEEM / AFP
Month-on-month inflation was 3.72 percent, according to government data released Saturday, while the average inflation rate for the past year was 27.26 percent.
Years of financial mismanagement and political instability have pushed Pakistan's economy to the brink of collapse, exacerbated by a global energy crisis and devastating floods that submerged a third of the country in 2022.
The country needs billions of dollars of financing to service existing debt, while foreign exchange reserves have dwindled and the rupee is in freefall.
Poor Pakistanis are feeling the brunt of the economic turmoil, and at least 20 people have been killed since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in crowd crushes at food distribution centres.
"The way inflation is rising, I believe a famine-like situation has been simmering," said Shahida Wizarat, a Karachi-based analyst.
At least 12 people were killed Friday in a crowd crush in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi at a factory distributing Ramadan alms.
The South Asian nation -- home to more than 220 million -- is deep in debt and must enact tough tax reforms and push up utility prices if it hopes to unlock another tranche of a $6.5 billion IMF bailout and avoid defaulting.
Inflation is expected to stay at "elevated" levels, the finance ministry said, "owing to market frictions caused by relative demand and supply gap of essential items, exchange rate depreciation and recent upward adjustment of administered prices of petrol and diesel." -AFP
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A rescue worker is seen near the carriage wreckage of a three-train collision near Balasore, in India's eastern state of Odisha, on June 3, 2023. Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP
TOPSHOT - Bullet holes riddle the wall of a building at the Souk Sitta (Market Six) in the south of Khartoum on June 1, 2023. Shelling and aerial bombardments killed 18 civilians at a market in Sudan's capital where fighting showed no signs of abating on June 1, after the army abandoned truce talks. For more than six weeks, Khartoum and other parts of the country have been gripped by bloody warfare between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. (Photo by AFP)
KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 - Former national badminton player Datuk Dr Lee Chong Wei (left) with former Chinese badminton player Lin Dan receiving the 'BWF Hall Of Fame 2023' award at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. - BERNAMA photo (2023) COPYRIGHT RESERVED
League of Social Democrats leader Chan Po Ying (C) argues with police officers before being taken away in the Causeway Bay shopping district of Hong Kong on June 4, 2023, close to the venue where Hong Kong people traditionally gather annually to mourn the victims of China's Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 which the authorities have banned and vowed to stamp out any protests on the anniversary on June 4. (Photo by Peter PARKS / AFP)