ISLAMABAD: Inflation measured through the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) increased 0.43 per cent during the week ended on April 28, owing to a rise in the prices of essential food items, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data showed on Friday.

This increase in weekly prices was noted in the week under review. Since April 7, it is the lowest increase when the SPI jumped 1.53pc.

One reason behind rising prices is the advent Ramazan, when the consumption of vegetables, especially potatoes, onions and tomatoes, and fruits goes through the roof.

Data shows that the prices of 25 essential food items increased during the week under review compared to the previous week.

The price of tomatoes increased tomatoes 42.85pc, onions 13.11pc, eggs 3.67pc, chicken 2.02pc, pulse masoor 1.46pc, vegetable ghee one kg 1.26pc, cooked daal 1.18pc, vegetable ghee 2.5 kg 1.15pc, rice Irri-6/9 1.08pc, and cooking oil Dalda 0.99pc.

In the non-food items the price of toilet soap increased 2.06pc, cigarettes 2.03pc, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) 11.67kg cylinder 0.87pc.

On the other hand, the prices of four items declined during the week, including wheat flour 9.96pc, gur 1.27pc, sugar 1.04pc and pulse gram 0.34pc.

The SPI increased by 0.46pc for the lowest income group (i.e. people earning below Rs17,732 per month) and by 0.45pc for the group with a monthly income of above Rs44,175. Of the 51 items whose prices were surveyed, the prices of 25 items increased, that of four items decreased, whereas the prices of 22 items remained constant.

In its monthly outlook report for April, the Ministry of Finance said the overall spike in inflation is on account of an increase in the prices of imported items, as the country is a net importer of items, especially crude oil, pulses and edible oil, which ultimately translates into domestic prices. The Russia-Ukraine war, supply chain disruption, and global demand recovery all contribute to price increases.

According to the report, inflation in Pakistan is driven by both external and internal factors. International commodity prices, especially oil and food prices are the main external contributors.

Further, exchange rate fluctuations also affect domestic prices. The movements of broad money are also considered a useful indicator because they reflect the influences of monetary and fiscal policies on the domestic price index. Finally, market expectations regarding these inflationary developments are also contributing factors.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2022

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