Headline inflation measured by the consumer price index (CPI) rose 23.8 per cent year-on-year in November, declining marginally from last month’s 26.6pc, as annual growth in food and transport prices continue to be the main drivers, official data released on Thursday showed.

On a month-on-month basis, the CPI increased 0.8pc in November compared to a rise of 4.7pc in the previous month. This drop in monthly inflation comes on the back of “muted flood inflation”, according to Ismail Iqbal Securities, which rose 0.1pc in November against 5.6pc last month.

In particular, perishable food items saw prices decline by 5pc over last month compared to an increase of 20pc in October.

The latest figures are in line with the Ministry of Finance’s outlook for the month, issued on Tuesday, which said inflationary pressure was expected to marginally ease out due to smooth domestic supplies, unchanged energy prices in November and a stable exchange rate. The ministry had said it expected CPI inflation in the range of 23-25pc for November.

However, Ismail Iqbal Securities noted that even though headline inflation had softened, annual core inflation remained flat at 16.2pc and rose 1.3pc month-on-month, the sixth consecutive month it has clocked in at over 1pc.

“Core inflation continues to be the State Bank’s focus and will be critical in policy decisions,” a note from the research team at Ismail Iqbal Securities said. They expect average inflation for the current financial year at 23.5pc.

Pakistan has been in the grips of decades-high inflation in the past few months but the CPI hike slowed down in September to 23.2pc from a 49-year high of 27.2pc in August.

The trend reversed the very next month when headline inflation rose sharply to 26.6pc in October, prompting the central bank to ring alarm bells in its monetary policy statement last week when it raised the key policy rate by 100 basis points to a 24-year high of 16pc in a decision it said was “aimed at ensuring that elevated inflation does not become entrenched”.

In a briefing after the rate hike on Friday, the bank said the country was facing a wage-price spiral which could lead to long-term inflation, adding that “inflationary pressures have proven to be stronger and more persistent than expected”.

According to CPI data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, almost all sub-indices registered double digit annual growth in November, with transport leading the pack at 44.2pc followed by food at 31.2pc, both slowing down marginally from last month’s 53.2pc and 36.4pc, respectively.

Data showed that urban and rural inflation rose at an annual rate of 21.6pc and 27.2pc, respectively, dropping from last month’s 24.6pc and 29.5pc.

Food inflation in urban and rural areas clocked in at 28.8pc and 33.7pc, respectively.

In urban areas, food items that saw prices surge in November over last year include:

  • Onions (284.87pc)

  • Gram Whole (63.49pc)

  • Tea (62.18pc)

  • Pulse Gram (56.19pc)

  • Besan (56.1pc)

  • Butter (53.05pc)

  • Pulse Mash (47.76pc)

  • Pulse Moong (46.29pc)

  • Mustard Oil (44.69pc)

  • Wheat (43.4pc)

  • Cooking Oil (41.88pc)

  • Dessert Preparation (40.1pc)

  • Rice (39.75pc)

  • Pulse Masoor (38.73pc)

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