Weekly inflation stays elevated on costly food, energy

Published September 16, 2023
Food items, mainly vegetables like tomatoes, garlic, onions and pulses registered price increases over the preceding week. — Online/file
Food items, mainly vegetables like tomatoes, garlic, onions and pulses registered price increases over the preceding week. — Online/file

ISLAMABAD: The short-term inflation witnessed a year-on-year increase of 26.25 per cent for the week ending on Sept 14 mainly due to a sharp increase in the retail price of vegetables across the country, showed the official data released on Friday.

In the wake of the Torkham border closure with Afghanistan, the prices of vegetables, particularly tomatoes and onions, have experienced a dramatic surge. This unprecedented increase can be attributed to the subsequent suspension of vegetable supplies.

Both countries opened the border for trade on Thursday.

To meet the local demand, Pakistan has been relying on imports of essential vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, potatoes and various others from Afghanistan.

Contrary to this the crackdown against smuggling and the closure of borders with Afghanistan, the sugar retail price saw a decline of over nine per cent during the week under review.

The short-term inflation, measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI), remained elevated. It, however, declined 0.25pc from the preceding week after an upward increase for the past seven consecutive weeks.

Of the 51 items in the SPI basket, prices of 24 goods soared, eight dropped and 21 remained unchanged compared to the previous week.

During the week under review, the items whose prices increased the most over the same week a year ago were: wheat flour (114.37pc), gas charges for Q1 (108.38pc), cigarettes (98.11pc), rice basmati broken (91.07pc), sugar (90.27pc), chillies powder (84.84pc), rice Irri-6/9 (82.03pc), tea Lipton (76.19pc), gur (73.95pc), gents sponge chappal (58.05pc), salt powdered (55.08pc), gents sandal (53.37pc), bread (45.79pc) and powdered milk (43.05pc).

The biggest rise week-on-week was in the price of tomatoes (4.29pc), garlic (4.21pc), bread (3.92pc), onions (3.60pc), pulse masoor (3.19pc), salt powdered (2.77pc), shirting (1.68pc), pulse moong (1.66pc), lawn printed (1.32pc), pulse mash (1.25pc) and long cloth (1.18pc).

In May, the SPI stayed above 45pc for three weeks after hitting an all-time high at 48.35pc on May 4.

The rupee depreciation, rising petrol prices, sales tax and electricity bills are among the key contributors to this inflationary trend. According to the latest IMF forecast, the average Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the current fiscal year is projected to be 25.9pc from the previous year’s 29.6pc.

Meanwhile, a decrease was also observed on a week-on-week basis in prices of sugar (9.11pc), chicken (5.47pc), eggs (2.79pc), bananas (0.86pc), tea Lipton (0.59pc), pulse gram (0.57pc), vegetable 1 kg (0.16pc) and cooking oil 5-litre (0.10pc).

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2023

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