Pakistan's consumer price index (CPI) in May rose 11.8% from a year earlier, data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, the lowest reading in 30 months and below the finance ministry's projections.

The lowest reading comes a week before the central bank meets to review the key rate which has remained at a historic high of 22% for seven straight policy meetings.

Pakistan has been beset by inflation above 20% since May 2022. Last year in May, inflation jumped as high as 38% as the country navigated reforms as part of an International Monetary Fund bailout programme. However, inflation has since slowed down.

Month-on-month consumer prices fell 3.2%, the biggest such drop in more than two years.

In its monthly economic report released last week, Pakistan's finance ministry said it expected inflation to hover between 13.5% and 14.5% in May and ease to 12.5% to 13.5% by June 2024.

"The inflation outlook for May 2024 continues on a downward trajectory, attributed to elevated inflation levels (in the) previous year and improvements in (the) domestic supply chain of perishable items, staple food like wheat and (a) reduction in transportation costs," the report said.

The actual readings have come in even lower due to a sharper dip in food prices, said Amreen Soorani, head of research at JS Global Capital. (Reporting by Ariba Shahid in Karachi and Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Sohini Goswami)