Saturday, November 18, 2023

More misery for masses as short-term inflation surges by 10%

This notable increase was propelled by the recent five-fold increase in gas prices

People buy dry fruits at a market in Karachi, Pakistan February 1, 2023. — Reuters
People buy dry fruits at a market in Karachi, Pakistan February 1, 2023. — Reuters

  • SPI stands at 41.9% due to massive hike in gas tariff. 
  • Escalating costs of food items pushed inflation. 
  • Prices of some items decreased including electricity. 

ISLAMABAD: A massive increase in gas tariff has put more burden on the masses already reeling under unabated inflation as the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) jumped by 10% in the week ending on November 16, compared to the previous week, 

According to a The News report published Saturday, this notable increase was propelled by the recent five-fold increase in gas prices, while the escalating costs of food items also played a significant role.

The SPI gauges the weekly price moment of mostly kitchen items. It stood at 41.9% in the week under review over the same week a year earlier. Last week, it was 29.86%. Over the previous week, it increased by 9.95%, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported Friday.

Notably, the SPI inflation has been in double digits for most of the current and last fiscal years, reflecting the impact of currency devaluation and higher energy tariffs.

According to the PBS, over the past 10 weeks, the SPI level indicates mixed trends when compared to the corresponding weeks of the previous year. 

It stood at 26.25% during the week ending September 14, followed by 38.66% on September 21, 37.3% on September 27, 37.07% on October 5, 38.28% on October 12, 35.45% on October 19, 29.65% on October 26, 29.88% on November 2, 29.86% on November 8, and now, at the week ending November 16, it has surged to 41.9%.

Major increases were observed in the prices of gas at 480%, tea at 8.9%, masoor pulse at 5.3%, chicken at 4%, garlic at 3.1%, salt powdered at 3%, wheat flour at 2.6%, tea prepared at 2.1%, LPG and potatoes by 2%each and shirting price in one week increased 1.1%.

Moreover, for the lowest income slab that earns up to Rs17,732/ month, the SPI inflation stood at 35.72%, while for the group spending more than 44,175/month, it was recorded at 39.67%.

For the week concerned, average prices of 25 items (49.02%) registered an increase, 13 items (25.49%) registered a decrease, while prices of 13 items (25.49%) did not show any change, the SPI bulletin said.

Gas charges (up to 3.3719 mmBtu) price increased by 480% to Rs1,711 per mmBtu; tea Lipton (of 190gm packet) by 8.88% to Rs612.5, masoor pulse increased by 5.28% to Rs326.3/ kg, chicken farm 3.99% to Rs365/ kg, garlic 3.1% to Rs549/ kg, salt powdered 2.93% to Rs69 per 800gm, wheat flour 2.64% Rs2,825 per 20kg bag, tea prepared 2.07% 57.1/cup, LPG 2.03% to Rs3,188 per 11.67kg cylinder, potatoes by 2% to Rs109/ kg, moong pulse 1.14% to Rs277/ kg and shirting 1.1% to 413 per meter.

Prices of some items decreased during the week including electricity charges (Q1) by 16.1% to Rs6.90 per unit, tomatoes by 11.2% to Rs169/ kg, sugar by 4.24% to Rs137/ kg, diesel by 2.15pc to Rs297.78/litre, onions 1.5% to Rs121/ kg, vegetable ghee 1 kg 1.4pc to Rs513.5, petrol 0.73% to Rs282.44/litre cooking oil 5-litre by 0.65% to Rs2,842, rice irri-6/9 0.42% Rs160/ kg, vegetable ghee 2.5-kg 0.28% to Rs1,369.

Originally published in The News