Islamabad, April 1: Pakistans monthly inflation blew past forecasts in March and soared to a nearly all-time high level -- 35.4 per cent -- from a year earlier, with people feeling more pain from some of the fastest rising consumer prices amid straining budgets as cost of living continues to outstrip average incomes, according to a media report.

The fresh inflation reading issued by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Saturday also multiplied the prospects of a further rise in interest rates in the upcoming monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting scheduled for April 4, Geo News reported. Pakistan Economic Crisis: Inflation Hits Highest Level on Record, Prices in February 2023 Rise by 4.3%.

The pace of increase in the prices endorsed the expectations of the Finance Ministry that said inflation was expected to stay at an elevated level 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, the report said.

The monthly inflation rate, however, declined to 3.7 per cent in March over February. The inflation situation has worsened to its worst, steeping the masses, whose purchasing power has eroded by leaps and bounds, into misery, as the price of almost every edible item has gone through the roof over a period of months. Pakistan Economic Crisis Deepens: Industries Bracing for Cut in Production, Layoffs.

Core inflation, which was calculated after excluding the volatile energy and food prices, increased in March to 18.6 per cent in urban areas and 23.1 per cent in rural areas.

Analysts believe Pakistan is now heading towards hyperinflation  a situation when prices are out of control and in the territory of a 50 per cent surge, Geo News reported.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 01, 2023 05:36 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website