Weekly inflation decelerates

Published September 24, 2022
KARACHI: Men sell vegetables at a stall at the Empress Market in this file photo. The weekly drop in inflation was mainly driven by a decline in the prices of food items like tomatoes, bananas and cooking oil, official data showed on Friday.—Reuters
KARACHI: Men sell vegetables at a stall at the Empress Market in this file photo. The weekly drop in inflation was mainly driven by a decline in the prices of food items like tomatoes, bananas and cooking oil, official data showed on Friday.—Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Inflation for the week ended on Sept 22 dipped 8.1 per cent compared to the previous week, mainly on the back of a decline in the prices of food items like tomatoes, bananas and cooking oil, official data showed on Friday.

However, the Sensitive Price Index (SPI), which gauges inflation for the short term, was still over 29pc higher compared to the same week a year ago, said the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, largely driven by food and energy prices hitting record levels in the country.

Still, it was a significant respite from the previous few weeks, which saw year-on-year inflation reaching dizzying heights not seen in decades.

The year-on-year change in weekly inflation was hovering around 16.5pc during the week that ended on April 14, just four days after former premier Imran Khan was ousted from power.

However, in the previous few weeks, the annual change in weekly inflation was recorded at 40.6pc (for the week ended on Sept 15), 42.7pc (Sept 8), 45.5pc (Sept 1), 44.6pc (Aug 25), and 42.3pc (Aug 18).

While SPI dips over 8pc on week-on-week, annual change remains higher at 29pc

The latest data shows the SPI dipped slightly on a week-on-week basis, mainly because of a major drop in the prices of tomatoes and onions, as Pakistan began importing them from Afghanistan and Iran. The week ending July 28 saw a major week-on-week increase in inflation, as prices rose by 3.7pc.

Soaring vegetable prices due to damage to standing crops in the wake of flooding and a massive hike in electricity rates have also contributed to higher prices. The damage to standing crops is likely to 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 its measures to collect additional taxes from consumers, forecasts 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 fiscal year, while core inflation would also remain elevated due to higher energy prices and a fall in the rupee’s value.

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 26 items increased, 10 decreased, and 15 remained stable.

As for a weekly change in food prices, the rates of tomatoes dropped 8.15pc, bananas 1.9pc, garlic 1.31pc, masoor pulse 0.99pc, a five-litre pack of cooking oil 0.78pc, onions 0.46pc, a 2.5kg pack of vegetable ghee 0.34pc, and 1kg vegetable ghee 0.06pc.

In the non-food items, electricity prices for the first quarter dipped by 64.23pc and that of LPG by 3.82pc.

By contrast, the goods whose prices increased during the week under review included wheat flour (22.47pc), Lipton tea (6.42pc), chicken (4.52pc), gram pulse (2.54pc), bread (2.36pc), cigarettes (1.82pc), basmati broken rice (1.51pc), potatoes (1.45pc), moong pulse (1.31pc), and Irri 6/9 rice (1.07pc).

On a year-on-year basis, the items whose prices jumped the most included tomatoes (117.55pc), diesel (105.12pc), petrol (91.87pc), masoor pulse (75.38pc), gram pulse (73.55pc), mustard oil (65.64pc), five-litre cooking oil (63.63pc), washing soap (61.50pc), 2.5kg vegetable ghee (59.42pc), mash pulse (56.93pc), 1kg vegetable ghee (56.09pc), onions (50.83pc), and LPG (49.89pc).

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2022

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