ISLAMABAD: Weekly inflation for the combined group in the period ended on Feb 18 increased by 0.55 per cent on the back of an uptick in prices of essential food items, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Friday.
Since January, an upward movement was noted in the prices of essential kitchen items despite government claims that consumer items prices are declining.
The PBS calculates the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) based on the prices of 51 essential items from 50 markets across 17 cities of the country.
For the lowest income group earning below Rs17,732 per month, the SPI increased by 0.55pc, while for those who are earning above Rs44,175, it recorded an increase of 0.54pc.
This was mainly due to rising prices of food items including chicken (8.89pc), pulse gram (2.37pc), pulse mash (1.83pc), chillies powder 200gm (1.81pc), eggs (1.53pc), rice irri 6/9 (1.23pc), and vegetable ghee 2.5kg 1.14pc. Among non-food items, prices of lawn printed rose (3.57pc), long cloth (3.50pc), match box (1.21pc).
The items whose prices declined during the week included tomatoes (4pc), LPG (2.32pc), potatoes (2.11pc), wheat flour bag (1.99pc), onions (1.73pc) and garlic (0.03pc).
During the week, 25 items recorded an increase, 8 showed decline and 18 unchanged.
But contrary to this trend, the month of January saw a deeper deceleration in prices of consumer products as inflation eased to 5.7pc from 8pc in Dec 2020. On a month-on-month basis, inflation decreased by 0.21pc mainly due to a drop in prices of tomatoes, potatoes, onions and a few other vegetables as a result of the arrival of the domestic crop in the market.
The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) in its last meeting also directed Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to work out ranking of the districts with reference to price control so that provincial governments can take necessary actions accordingly.
Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2021