ISLAMABAD: The weekly inflation slightly decelerated to 40.58 per cent largely driven by prices of essential kitchen items and high energy costs.

The weekly inflation measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) posted a slight decline of 0.19pc on a week-on-week (WoW) basis that ended on Sept 15, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data showed on Friday. The WoW decline has been noted for the past two consecutive weeks.

Before this, the highest ever year-on-year (YoY) increase in the SPI was 45.50pc recorded for the week ending on Sept 1, and 44.58pc, recorded for the week ending on August 25, and 42.31pc in the week ending on August 18. Last week, the SPI was recorded at 42.70pc on a YoY basis.

The latest PBS data shows that the SPI dipped slightly on a week-on-week basis, mainly because of a major drop in food prices — tomatoes and onions on account of imports from Afghanistan and Iran. The highest WoW increase in inflation was 3.68pc for the week ending July 28.

Soaring vegetable prices due to damage to standing crops and a massive hike in electricity rates have also contributed to higher prices. The damage to standing crops will push up the prices of vegetables in the coming weeks.

The government has projected a modest inflationary annual target of 11.5pc for the ongoing fiscal year. However, the Federal Board of Revenue, which uses inflation as one of the measures to gather additional taxes from consumers, has projected inflation at 12.8pc. Independent economists estimate inflation to remain around 25pc to 30pc.

The International Monetary Fund said in its country’s staff report that the average Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation was expected to surge to 20pc in the current financial year, while core inflation would also remain elevated due to higher energy prices and the rupee’s decline.

The SPI monitors the prices of 51 essential items based on a survey of 50 markets in 17 cities across the country. During the week under review, the prices of 30 out of 51 items increased, 10 decreased, and 11 remained stable.

An increase was observed in the prices of tea Lipton (6.30pc), pulse moong (3.46pc), eggs (2.54pc), cooked beef & pulse gram (2.53pc) each, wheat flour (1.96pc), rice Irri 6/9 (1.73pc), cooked daal (1.71pc), pulse mash (1.68pc) and bread (1.45pc).

On a year-on-year basis, the items whose prices jumped the most included tomatoes (170.51pc), diesel (105.12pc), petrol (90.73pc), pulse masoor (76.65pc), pulse gram (67.11pc), mustard oil (65.75pc), cooking oil five litre bottle (65.45pc), washing soap (61.05pc), vegetable ghee 2.5 Kg (60.68pc), LPG (56.61pc), vegetable ghee 1Kg (56.46pc), pulse mash (53.41pc) and electricity (52.04pc).

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

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