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CPI inflation surges faster than expected in October to 26.6%



  • CPI inflation up 4.7% compared to fall of 1.2% in Sept 2022.
  • Numbers mostly in line with the market expectations.
  • Impact of the high-base effect to kick in down the line.

ISLAMABAD: Accelerating faster than anticipated, Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based inflation for October 2022 surged to 26.6% year-on-year,  latest data showed, chiefly fueled by high-priced food and a hawkish monetary outlook. 

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), consumer prices rose 4.7% compared to a fall of 1.2% in September 2022 month-on-month. 

The inflation is not far from a 47-year high.

The inflation crossed 20% in June 2022, topping the 47-year high of 27.3% in August 2022 year-on-year.

PBS in a statement said the rise in consumer prices in October from last month was boosted mainly by electricity and food prices, while the higher CPI from October last year was caused by rising costs of food and fuel.

The numbers are in line with the market expectations.

The market was mostly bracing for the headline inflation to increase by 4% month-on-month. 

Moreover, food inflation swelled 36.2% year-on-year, while transport prices sped up 53.4%, clothing and footwear prices rose 18.3% and housing, water and electricity costs rose 11.9%.

Brokerage Ismail Iqbal Securities had projected the inflation to clock in at 25.7% as against 23.2% in September. “Overall, we expect FY23 average inflation at 22%. The sequential increase will be led by normalisation of electricity tariff, quarterly house rent revision, and higher perishable food prices,” the brokerage said in a report. 

“The impact would be diluted to some extent by a reduction in petroleum prices,” it added.

However, analysts see the impact of the high-base effect in December, while the announcement of a number of subsidies on several items amid cooling international commodity markets might reduce inflation pressure to around 22-23% in November.

The CPI inflation in urban areas was registered at 24.6% year-on-year in the month under review as against an increase of 21.2% in September 2022 and 9.6% in October 2021.

It rose to 4.5% in October 2022 month-on-month compared to a fall of 2.1% in the previous month and an uptick of 1.7% in October last.

In rural areas, CPI inflation touched 29.5% year-on-year in the outgoing month vis-à-vis an increase of 26.1% in the previous month and 8.7% in October 2021.

It, month-on-month, increased to 5.0% in October 2022 as compared to an increase of 0.2% in the previous month and an increase of 2.2% in October last year.

Increasing inflationary pressures remain a major threat to the economy amid eroding foreign exchange reserves.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held the interest rate unchanged, citing that the prevailing stance sustains just the right balance between managing inflation and maintaining the growth rate post-floods.

“On the one hand, inflation could be higher and more persistent due to the supply shock to food prices, and it is important to ensure that this additional impetus does not spill over into broader prices in the economy. On the other, growth prospects have weakened, which should reduce demand-side pressures and suppress underlying inflation,” MPC had said.

According to CPI numbers, inflation increased the sharpest in transport, food, housing, and restaurant and hotel groups in the outgoing month.

Persistently high inflation has severely strained the economy which is also under pressure from falling foreign exchange reserves, the rupee rout, and a yawning current account deficit.

SBP-held foreign exchange reserves stand at $7.4 billion, hardly enough to cover one month’s imports.

Devastating floods in August claimed more than 1,700 lives, while multiplying the economic problems by wiping out crops and infrastructure.


PKR on track to become top-performing currency this month: Bloomberg




  • Pakistani currency rose around 6% this month against dollar.
  • Authorities curb leakages happening through illegal channels. 
  • Crackdown on illegal dollar traders helps local currency. 

The Pakistani rupee is on track to become the top performer globally in September as the caretaker government continues its crackdown on illegal dollar trade, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

The local currency rose around 6% this month against the dollar — an amazing feat despite the Thai baht and South Korean won tumbling against the greenback.

Major currencies lost ground against the dollar on speculations that the US interest rates will stay elevated for longer.

The rupee increased 0.1% to 287.95 per dollar on Thursday, after sliding to a record low of about 307 this month. Pakistan’s currency market will remain closed for the Eid Miladun Nabi holiday on Friday.

“Many leakages were happening through illegal channels of hawala and hundi trade from the open market,” Khurram Schehzad, chief executive officer of Alpha Beta Core Solutions Pvt Ltd, told Bloomberg.

“When the dollar rate reverses everybody, the hoarders, the exporters who are holding their export proceeds, start selling their dollars,” Schehzad said.

The interim rulers have intensified efforts by launching a crackdown on people involved in the illegal dollar trade, allowing the currency to gain some lost ground.

The Federal Investigation Agency, Bloomberg reported, conducted raids across the country and security officials in plainclothes were deployed at money exchanges to monitor dollar sales as part of the crackdown.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar this week said the rupee’s gain is “fostering optimism for stability.”

For its part, the State Bank of Pakistan raised the capital requirements of smaller exchange companies and ordered large banks to open their own exchange companies to make the retail foreign exchange market more transparent and easier to monitor.

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Pakistan issues tender for LNG cargoes to meet winter demand




  • Delivery windows are December 7-8 and December 13-14: PLL.
  • Pakistan faces difficulty in procuring LNG amid Russia-Ukraine conflict. 
  • Natural gas supply dropped by 20% over the last year level.

LAHORE: Pakistan has issued a fresh tender to procure liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot cargoes to meet its winter demand after failing to secure supplies from the global market for over a year, The News reported on Thursday.

The Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL), a state-owned company, said on Wednesday it was seeking bids from international suppliers for two LNG cargoes of 140,000 cubic meters each, to be delivered in December at Port Qasim in Karachi.

The delivery windows are December 7-8 and December 13-14, according to the tender document. 

PLL has the mandate to procure LNG on behalf of the federal government to meet the country’s gas requirements through two LNG import terminals with exclusive arrangements for public sector distribution.

The delivery from the volatile spot market has been an uphill task for Pakistan since the start of the war between Ukraine and Russia in February 2022. 

Previous attempts to buy LNG proved futile mainly due to the lukewarm response of sellers. The growing concern of suppliers about the country’s credit risk has been another headache for a country already plagued by chronic energy shortages.

LNG is crucial for Pakistan, where natural gas accounts for over a third of power generation and local gas reserves are insufficient to address growing electricity demand in a country of over 230 million.

In late July this year, PLL failed in its attempt to purchase LNG too after several such attempts made earlier. A bidding company offered winter LNG cargoes at a premium of as high as 30% of the market price. Hence, PLL decided not to purchase the costly gas cargo due to the extremely high cost.

Last week, responding to a query raised by The News, Energy Minister Muhammad Ali said the natural gas supply in the system had dropped by 20% over the last year level. 

He said this was a huge gap, which would ultimately translate into low gas availability for the end consumers.

“The dwindling gas resources simply mean load shedding for the users,” he said, adding that imports of LNG could lead to bridging the gap, although it is a costly option. 

“We are trying to import as much LNG as possible.” However, the spot rate of LNG presently stands at $15 per unit, and Pakistan is selling it to domestic consumers at $1.5 per unit, which is not sustainable.

To meet the demand of the industry, the minister said the government is trying to import maximum cargoes of LNG. 

Responding to a query about the challenges in the import of LNG from the spot market and how to tackle them, minister Ali said Pakistan is facing two challenges on the import front. 

He said the first is the peculiar nature of the LNG trade where the purchase contract is made before the LNG is produced. 

One way to address this challenge, Ali said, is to have long-term buying contracts to ensure smooth gas imports. 

He said the other way is to try to get gas through government-to-government (G2G) arrangements. Besides having gas supplies under long-term contracts, “Pakistan is negotiating to import cargoes through G2G basis to meet winter demand.”

Talking about LNG spot purchases, he recalled that Pakistan did not get any response in June tendering amid high spot rates. 

“We are now contemplating to invite fresh bids for spot buying to ease winter demand. We are trying to minimise gas shortage in days to come.”

Moreover, talking about the second constraint in the import of LNG, which is the low capacity of gas import infrastructure, the minister said that his government wants to run both existing terminals at full capacity. They are also trying to remove hurdles in setting up more LNG terminals in the country.

One of the new terminals should have been established last year, but it was delayed due to litigation. If the third terminal is to be installed, the minister said they want to give a go-ahead to its construction within the tenure of the caretaker government.

According to a report, Pakistan’s liquefied natural gas demand will nearly triple in five years as its production of domestic gas dwindles. 

The South Asian nation will need 25 cargoes of the super-chilled fuel a month by then, from nine a month now. Pakistan has struggled to secure enough LNG to cover its needs after prices surged to an all-time high last year.

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inDrive now available in five more Pakistani cities




KARACHI: inDrive, a popular ride-hailing service in Pakistan, has now expanded its network to five more cities across Pakistan including Larkana, Kāmoke, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, and Okara.

In a statement issued by the transport company, the inclusion of these cities reflects inDrive’s dedication to bringing innovative transportation options to both urban centres and suburban areas.

Speaking about the expansion, Senior Business Representative at inDrive Hasan Qureshi said: “We are excited to extend the convenience and reliability of inDrive to residents of Larkana, Kāmoke, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, and Okara.”

“Our mission is to redefine transportation by providing safe, affordable, and accessible rides to everyone. With this expansion, we are not only enhancing the commuting experience but also contributing to the economic growth and empowerment of these communities.”

PR Manager Sidra Kiran said that their new service offers city residents the convenience of accessing transport from their homes, eliminating the need to search for it. 

“Both drivers and passengers stand to gain significant benefits, including time-saving and the elimination of challenges associated with street hailing. This service addresses issues such as locating rides during odd hours like early mornings or late nights,” she stated. 

She further added: “inDrive ride-hailing presents numerous benefits to drivers in small cities, including flexible opportunities, reduced unemployment, supplemental income, enhanced community connection, and positive contributions to the local economy.”

The launch of the company in these cities would benefit both riders and driver-partners. 

inDrive further said that it remains committed to upholding the highest standards of safety, affordability, customer service, and technological innovation.

inDrive is Pakistan’s premier ride-hailing service and is revolutionising the way people travel. With a commitment to providing safe, affordable, and reliable transportation.

The company allowed riders to connect with nearby drivers with its app.

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