Weekly inflation spikes by 15pc year-on-year

Published March 6, 2021
Sensitive Price Index hits 54-week high. — Dawn archives
Sensitive Price Index hits 54-week high. — Dawn archives

KARACHI: The Sensitive Price Index (SPI) for the week ending March 4 witnessed a jump of 0.16 per cent week-on-week (WoW) and 14.95pc year-on-year (YoY), with the prices of chicken and banana registering a significant hike.

The week saw an increase in chicken price by 5.31pc followed by bananas 4.22pc, potatoes 3.76pc, sugar 2.81pc, onions 2.21pc, mustard oil 1.32pc and mash pulse by 1.3pc which played a major role in pushing up overall weekly SPI.

In non-food items, washing soap price posted a rise of 1.21pc.

The week mentioned above recorded price fall in garlic by 7.06pc, wheat flour bag by 0.84pc, gur by 0.58pc, tomatoes by 0.51pc and firewood by 0.50pc.

“This is the highest increase in 54 weeks,” Director of Topline Securities Mohammad Sohail told Dawn on Friday. He attributed the increase in SPI — a gauge of consumer price index (CPI) — to rising food prices and non-food items like electricity.

Sensitive Price Index hits 54-week high

According to SPI data, out of 51 items, prices of 22 items had increased. Prices of five items dropped while the rates of 24 items remained unchanged.

The current week over the corresponding week YoY saw massive price jump in chilli powder 200 grams rate by 143.07pc while the second jump of 71.76pc was observed in chicken rates. Eggs, mustard oil and sugar prices soared by 61.51pc, 26.26pc and 21.11pc, respectively.

In non-food items, electricity charges for Q1 went up by 85.95pc followed gents’ sandal up by 33.37pc, match box by 30.47pc, gents sponge chappal by 25.13pc, washing soap 250 grams cake by 20.78pc and long cloth 57” by 19.84pc.

Onion and garlic prices fell by 48.75pc and 37.6pc, respectively, followed by a decrease in tomato rates by 16.48pc, potato by 3.93pc, LPG 11.67kg by 12.32pc and high-speed diesel by 4.98pc.

The SPI data had quoted average chicken broiler live bird rate at Rs263 per kg as compared to Rs250.28 per kg on Feb 25, 2021.

However, on Friday, a number poultry dealers were charging up to Rs300 per kg for live bird and Rs460-520 per kg for chicken meat, while boneless meat was being sold at Rs700 per kg.

Sindh Poultry Wholesalers Association General Secretary Kamal Akhtar Siddiqui attributed the price hike to rising demand and short supply of birds from the poultry farms. High rates of poultry feed in the last two to three months are also adding price pressures on poultry products, he added.

“The farm rate of live bird is Rs264 per kg while the wholesale and retail rates were Rs272 and Rs280 per kg. This is the only meat item whose prices move both ways as compared to red meat which continues to rise,” Mr Siddiqui added.

Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) spokesperson Abdul Maroof Siddiqui said rising wedding functions in the afternoon coupled with increasing ceremonies after the sunset boosted chicken demand. The thriving late night online food delivery activities have further injected fresh demand for chicken.

Besides, 10-12pc mortality of birds at the farms due to change of weather and various diseases has further tightened the demand and supply gap.

SPI data revealed sugar rate at Rs96.68 per kg versus Rs94 per kg on Feb 25, 2021. However, in retail rates in Karachi now ranges between Rs95-100 per kg despite massive imports and availability of local crop.

As Ramazan is starting from second week of April, prices of various items have already started going up.

The official data also stated rising price trend in various pulses like gram, moong, masoor and mash despite huge imports. As per PBS, import of pulses in July-January 2012-21 crawled up by 1.26pc in quantity to 641,039 tonnes costing $330 million as compared to 633,081 tonnes valuing $312m in the same period last fiscal year. The average per tonne price of various pulses in the above period had risen to $515 from $492.

Average per dozen banana price was Rs90.23 for the ending March 4 as compared to Rs86.58 on Feb 25, 2021. Banana is the most sought after fruit in Ramazan and greedy retailers have already started making a ground ahead of the holy month. In Karachi, retailers have raised price by at least Rs20 per dozen in the last one to two weeks.

Fresh milk and yogurt prices as per SPI data were Rs105.88 per litre and Rs122.45 per kg on week ending March 4 as compared to Rs105.30 per litre and Rs121.88 per kg a week ago. In Karachi, consumers are paying Rs130 per litre for loose milk and Rs200 per kg for yogurt, up from Rs120 per litre and Rs180 per kg in the last one week.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2021

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