The State Bank of Pakistan on Friday announced the policy rate will be maintained at 7% in a bid to support economic recovery.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) today, following which a statement was issued by the central bank.
The committee noted that the “current stance of monetary policy remains appropriate to support economic recovery while keeping inflation expectations well-anchored and maintaining financial stability”.
SBP said that the committee reviewed the recent rise in inflation and concluded it was “primarily driven by supply side factors and saw little signs of demand led inflation”.
The central bank committee expects that as this “temporary increase in inflation”, that is a by-product of “administered prices” subsides, “inflation should fall to the 5-7% target range over the medium-term”.
It said that in the absence of “unforeseen developments”, it is expected the monetary policy settings to “remain broadly unchanged in the near term”.
The MPC foresaw that as economic recovery stabilises and makes a return to full capacity possible, the policy rate in the future will be “measured and gradual to achieve mildly positive real rates”.
The statement said that the growth in FY21, “while still modest, at around 3% […] is now projected to be higher than previously anticipated due to improved prospects for manufacturing and reflecting in part the monetary and fiscal stimulus provided during COVID”.
The SBP further noted that “recent inflation out-turns have been volatile, with the lowest reading on headline inflation in more than two years in January 2021 followed by a sharp rise in February”.
According to SBP estimates, the recent increase in electricity tariffs and sugar and wheat prices accounts for about 1½ percentage points of the 3 percentage point increase in inflation between the January and February out-turns.
“The recent increase in electricity prices will continue to manifest in headline numbers in coming months, keeping average inflation in FY21 close to the upper end of the previously announced range of 7-9%,” said the statement.