ISLAMABAD: The inflation, measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI), slightly rose 0.29 per cent week-on-week for the period ended on Oct 6 due to an increase in food prices, showed data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday.

On a year-on-year basis, the SPI posted an increase of 29.44pc largely driven by food and the highest-ever energy prices.

Before this, the highest ever year-on-year increase in the SPI was 45.50pc recorded for the week ending on Sept 1 and 44.58pc for the week ending on Aug 25, 42.70pc in the week ending on Sept 8 and 42.31pc in the week ending on Aug 18.

The latest data shows that the SPI slightly went up on a week-on-week basis, mainly because of the increase in prices of tomatoes and onions and other vegetables.

The average Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation will rise to an average of 23pc in FY23 from 12.2pc in FY22 due to higher domestic energy prices, flood disruptions, and the weaker rupee, predicted by World Bank in its October 2022 Pakistan Development Upd­ate: Inflation and the Poor.

The SBP has been tightening its monetary policy to contain surging inflation and the rupee’s rapid depreciation. Since September 2021, the central bank has increased the policy rate by a cumulative 800 bps to reach 15pc, the highest rate since the 2008 global financial crisis.

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 International Monetary Fund said in its country’s staff report that the average 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.

During the week under review, the prices of 17 out of 51 items increased, 14 decreased, and 20 remained stable.

In the food items WoW basis, the prices of tomatoes rose 27.40pc, onions 10.22pc, bananas 2.24pc and powdered milk 1.18pc.

In the non-food items, electricity declined for Q 1 (64.23pc) and LPG (3.82pc).

On a year-on-year basis, the items whose prices jumped the most included tomatoes (305.60pc), onions (167.80pc), diesel (92.08pc), petrol (76.07pc), pulse gram (70.02pc), pulse masoor (64.65pc), cooking oil 5 litre (61.43pc), mustard oil (61.21pc), washing soap (60.68pc), vegetable ghee 2.5 kg (57.66pc), pulse mash (55.50pc), vegetable ghee 1 kg (55.37pc) and pulse moong (48.34pc).

Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2022

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