Islamabad: Pakistan’s inflation quickened by a record on higher taxes and energy prices, suggesting that further interest rate increases may be needed.
Consumer prices rose 35.37 per cent from a year earlier, according to data released by the statistics department Saturday. That compares with a median estimate for a 34.8 per cent gain in a Bloomberg survey and a 31.55 per cent increase in February.
The latest print may bolster the case for State Bank of Pakistan to raise the target rate at a review scheduled April 4, with all but one of 14 economists surveyed so far expecting a hike.
The central bank last month delivered a blowout 300-basis-point increase to 20 per cent to rein in skyrocketing prices that were stoked by a weaker currency, as well as tax and energy price hikes aimed at clinching an International Monetary Fund bailout that’s still in limbo.
The IMF has asked the South Asian nation to seek commitments from Saudi Arabia and the UAE before it revives the bailout.
Transport prices climbed up 54.94 per cent while food inflation quickened 47.15 per cent in March from a year earlier, data showed. Clothing and footwear prices accelerated 21.93 per cent and housing, water and electricity costs rose 17.49 per cent.