High food prices push short-term inflation to 43.25%

Israr Khan
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  

  • Weekly inflation rises by 0.37% in week ending Dec 28.
  • SPI increases to 43.25% YoY as compared to 42.6% last week. 
  • Major decreases observed in prices of potatoes etc. 

ISLAMABAD: The weekly inflation rose by 0.37% in the week ending on December 28, driven by higher prices of food items such as onions, chicken, sugar, and pulses, The News reported Saturday citing official data.

The sensitive price indicator (SPI), which tracks the prices of 51 essential items, increased to 43.25% year-on-year, compared with 42.6% in the previous week, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

In a week, the onion price increased by 15.2% to Rs188/kg, chicken farm (live) 4.76% to Rs359/kg, moong pulse 2.9% to Rs295/kg, gram pulse 2.89% to Rs247/kg, sugar 1.35% to Rs144/kg, bananas 1.05% to Rs116/dozen, masoor pulse 0.78pc to 338/kg and mash pulse price increased by 0.54% to Rs5434/kg.

On the contrary, major decreases were observed in the prices of potatoes 8.66% to Rs70/kg, tomatoes 1.01% to Rs107/kg, vegetable ghee 2.5 KG 0.61% to Rs1322, cooking oil 5 Litre 0.44% to Rs2,777, eggs 0.40% to Rs387/dozen and mustard oil reduced by 0.24% to Rs503/kg. 

According to the data, prices of 15 items (29.41%) increased, nine items (17.65%) decreased, and 27 items (52.94%) remained stable during the week. 

As per the inflation bulletin, for individuals in the lowest income slab, earning up to Rs17,732 per month, the SPI inflation stood at 35.75%, while for those in the group spending more than Rs44,175 per month, it was recorded at 41.6%. 

For the middle quintile (Rs22,889 to Rs29,517), the weekly inflation was at 46.99% — the highest among all groups.

In a year, gas prices have increased by 1108.6% (or Rs1,569.4/MMBtu) for those consuming up to 3.3719 MMBtu. Besides, cigarette capstan price increased by 93%, chillies powder by 82%, wheat flour bag (20kg) by 74%, garlic 71%, tomatoes 65%, rice basmati broken and Rice irri-6/9 prices increased by 58% each.

Apart from this, gents sponge chappal were costlier by 58%, sugar 54%, gents sandal 53%, gur 48%, mash pulse 44.6%, salt powdered 42%, potatoes 40.5%, tea Lipton 39%, eggs 38%, tea prepared 35.6%, energy saver 35%, shirting 33%, plain bread 32%, masoor pulse 30%, powdered milk 29%, LPG 11.67kg cylinder 26%, petrol super, curd, cooked beef and toilet soap each 25%. 

Fresh milk, long cloth, and matchbox prices also increased by 24% each. Washing soap, diesel, and lawn printed prices increased 21% each. Mutton and beef prices increased 19%, moong pulse by 18%, ladies' sandal by 14%, electricity charges for Q1 10%, and firewood, chicken, and gram pulse were costlier by 9%each. 

However, onion prices were 13% and mustard oil 5% less than last year.

Originally published in The News