ISLAMABAD: The wee­kly inflation, measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI), posted an increase of 29.30 per cent for the combined income group on a year-on-year basis ending on Dec 29 due to a massive surge in prices of both food and non-food items, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday.

Prices of food items, especially wheat flour as well as vegetables such as onions, are steadily on the rise over the past few weeks despite a decline in energy prices on a week-on-week basis.

The 20kg wheat flour bag in Karachi reached the highest rate of Rs2,600, followed by Rs2,560 in Quetta, Rs2,500 in Peshawar and Rs1,295 in Lahore.

The flour prices are lower in the entire province of Punjab compared with other provinces, while its price in Islamabad hovers around Rs1,300 per 20kg only.

Onion prices per kg in Islamabad stood at Rs260, followed by Rs240 in Peshawar, Rs220 in Lahore, Rs210 in Quetta and Rs200 in Karachi, respectively.

The prices of tomatoes and potatoes posted a slight decline in the past couple of weeks owing to the arrival of crops from the local market.

On a year-on-year basis, the items whose prices jumped the most included onions (498.08pc), tea Lipton (65.41pc), diesel (65.05pc), chicken (64.20pc), petrol (52.19pc), salt powdered (51.99pc), eggs (49.11pc), pulse moong (46.94pc), bananas (45.06pc), pulse gram (44.42pc) and mustard oil (41.64pc).

However, the SPI on a week-on-week basis slightly fell by 0.09pc for the week under review. This was mainly because oil prices slightly dropped while a few vegetable prices also posted a slight decline.

The price of potatoes dropped 8.85pc, tomatoes 6.02pc, vegetable ghee 2.5kg 1.47pc, sugar 1.22pc, vegetable ghee 1kg 0.45pc, and cooking oil 5-litre 0.04pc, respectively. The week-on-week decline in inflation is mainly because of a drop in petroleum prices.

On the other hand, a major increase is observed on week-on-week in the prices of eggs (2.86pc), rice basmati broken & wheat flour (2.81pc) each, bread (2.76pc), firewood (2.49pc), LPG (1.61pc), energy saver (1.27pc) and bananas (1.18pc).

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 23 of 51 items increased, seven decreased, and 21 remained stable.

A World Bank report estimated that the average Consumer Price Index-based inflation in Pakistan would rise to 23pc in the current fiscal year from 12.2pc a year ago due to higher domestic energy prices, flood disruptions and a weaker rupee.

Almost similar projections were made by the State Bank of Pakistan as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in their recent reports.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2022

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