Inflation records highest spike in 64 weeks

Published June 4, 2022
MULTAN: People buy vegetables at a Weekly Bazaar on Friday.—APP
MULTAN: People buy vegetables at a Weekly Bazaar on Friday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Inflation measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) increased by two per cent from the previous week, the highest increase in 64 weeks, due to increases in energy and food prices, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data released on Friday.

The year-on-year increase in SPI was 20.04pc during the week under review. Since February 25, 2021, this is the highest increase when the SPI jumped 2.41pc on a week-on-week basis and 13.89pc on year-on-year (YoY) basis.

The impact of the increase of Rs30 per litre of petrol and other petroleum products will be visible in next week’s SPI calculations, which will further go up.

Taking to the social media platform Twitter, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin tweeted: “Sensitive price index has increased by 20% yoy this week. This does not include latest petrol/diesel/ power bombs. I see inflation moving towards 25/30%. PDM used to blame us for 12%. They are crushing the poor people of this country. Should resign and call for fresh ele [election]”.

The minister said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) used to blame his government for high prices.

In another tweet, Mr Tarin once again called for fresh elections and said, “PDM,Instead of passing on the burden of fuel prices onto the public, reduce margins of refineries, get discounted Russian oil, shift to targeted subsidies. Don’t be a post box, use imagination the way PTI used to do. Call fresh elections as you cannot handle the economy.”

Soon after coming into power, the new government disbanded the dedicated National Price Monitoring Committee, which was led by the finance minister, while provinces were represented by provincial chief secretaries. The committee met every Monday to monitor the prices of essential food commodities.

Data shows that the prices of 28 essential food items increased during the week under review compared to the previous week.

The price of potatoes increased by 9.08pc, eggs 6.38pc, vegetable ghee 1 kg 4.59pc, bread 2.72pc, mustard oil 2.65pc, pulse msoor 2.33pc, cooking oil 5 litre 2.18pc, pulse gram 1.99pc, sugar 1.93pc, cooked beef & pulse mash 1.69pc each, vegetable ghee 2.5 kg 1.51pc and bananas 1.35pc.

In the non-food items, the price of high-speed diesel rose 20.69pc, petrol 19.91pc and toilet soap 1.40pc.

On the other hand, the prices of five items declined during the week, including chicken 4.68pc, garlic 2.75pc, wheat flour 1.91pc, tomatoes 1.26pc and LPG 0.74pc.

The SPI increased by 1.02pc for the lowest income group (i.e. people earning below Rs17,732 per month) and by 2.44pc for the group with a monthly income of above Rs44,175.

Of the 51 items whose prices were surveyed, the prices of 28 items increased, that of five items decreased, whereas the prices of 18 items remained constant.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2022

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