ISLAMABAD: The weekly inflation, measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI), posted an increase of 0.48 per cent for the combined income group on a week-on-week basis and 30.16pc on a year-on-year basis for the period ending Nov 24 mainly due to increase in food prices, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday.

The price of kitchen items tomatoes, onions and potatoes are still on the higher side. The average price of tomatoes in the market ranges between Rs180 to Rs250 per kg while that of onions is in the range of around Rs250 per kg, respectively.

The government has already allowed the import of these items duty-free from Afghanistan and Iran via land routes. However, the impact of these imports is not visible in the local prices.

The SBP has been tightening its monetary policy and further increased the policy rate to 16pc to contain surging inflation and the rupee’s rapid depreciation. Since September 2021, the central bank has increased the policy rate by a cumulative 800bps to 16pc, the highest rate since the 2008 global financial crisis.

The IMF 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 PMLN-led coalition government has projected a modest inflationary annual target of 11.5pc for the ongoing fiscal year.

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 19 out of 51 items increased, 09 decreased, and 23 remained stable.

In the food group, the items that saw the highest week-on-week increase in prices include eggs (8.45pc), bananas (5.87pc), chicken (4.03pc), onions (2.35pc), tea prepared (2.02pc), sugar (1.31pc), cooked daal (1.07pc). In the non-food group, on a week-on-week basis, firewood increased (1.76pc).

On a year-on-year basis, the items whose prices jumped the most included onions (363.67pc), tomatoes (64.74pc), diesel (64.57pc), tea Lipton (60.64pc), pulse gram (54.71pc), petrol (53.85pc), salt powdered (53.26pc), bananas (52.70pc), gents sponge chappal (52.21pc), pulse moong (50.45pc), eggs (48.24pc) and pulse mash (46.66pc), respectively.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022

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