KARACHI: Amid falling landed cost of imported items as a result of rising rupee against the dollar, consumers are witnessing a mixed price trend like upcoming increase in tetra milk prices, declining trend in ghee/cooking oil rates, and no change in retail prices of pulses despite the drop in their world market prices.
An ongoing crackdown on sugar mafia and hoarders has resulted in reduction of the retail sweetener rate to Rs155-165 per kg from Rs180-200 per kg earlier this month followed by price drop in flour rates by an average Rs10 per kg on arrival of Russian and Bulgarian wheat.
Nestle Pakistan Limited (NPL) has informed market traders regarding a price jump of Rs10 per litre tetra milk pack to Rs280 followed by a Rs3 increase in 250ml pack to Rs73 effective from Oct 1.
A senior executive in NPL did not respond to a query about the reason for jacking up the rates despite rupee appreciation against the dollar.
No relief for people despite fall in rates of pulses in world market
Amid tough business environment and eroding buying power of consumers, NPL sales clocked in at Rs101.4 billion in January-June from Rs80.4bn in the same period last year, up by 26pc, while net profit after tax surged by 43pc to Rs11bn from Rs7.69bn.
Friesland Campina Engro Pakistan Limited (FCEPL) has also issued a fresh price list to traders regarding a jump of Rs10 in one litre tetra pack milk to Rs280 effective from Oct 6.
FCEPL’s revenue grew by 53pc to Rs47bn during half year 2023 from Rs30.8bn in the same period 2022.
Edible oil price cut gives some relief
Ahmad Aziz Ghulamhussain, the chief executive of Agro Processors and Atmospheric Gases Limited, said: “We have reduced the prices of 16kg tin pack rate of Malta Banaspati to Rs6,500 from Rs6,900 prevailing on Sept 1.”
He said the price of one kilo pouch of Soya Supreme ghee was reduced to Rs532 from Rs547 followed by one litre oil pouch to Rs578 from Rs590.
One kilo ghee and one litre cooking oil rates during February were at peak of Rs639 and Rs699, respectively.
Mr Ghumanhussain said: “Prices have been slashed keeping in view the hardships of consumers and their shrinking buying power followed by stiff market competition and rising rupee value against the dollar.”
He said the price fall/rise did not reflect in the markets right away as premium brand manufacturers had retail price stocks at distributors and retailers end. “Price fluctuation takes 10-15 days depending on the stocks.”
Mr Ahmed said the second and third tier brands had ex-mill rates which go up/down on an almost daily basis.
He expressed the hope that massive fall in rates would bring relief to consumers and help them improve their buying pattern.
Despite soaring rupee value against the dollar and drop in world prices of pulses, the retail price of masoor, moong, mash and gram Pulse in Karachi almost remained unchanged at Rs 340-380, Rs 280-320, Rs 540-600 and Rs 240-280 per kg in the current month.
As per data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), country’s import of pulses rose by 35pc in quantity and three per cent in value to 269,870 tonnes ($168mn) in July-August 2023 as compared to 200,038 tonnes ($163mn) in the same period 2022.
The average per tonne price of imported pulses fell to $622 during July-August from $815 in the same period in 2022 but retailers kept the prices of pulses high.
An exporter/importer, Faisal Anis Majeed, said the wholesale rates of mash and moong had slightly inched up due to limited stocks followed by decline in black gram, or desi chickpeas, and lentils prices due to their over imports.
The wholesale rate of mash and moong went up to Rs500 and Rs235 per kg, respectively, from Rs480 and Rs225 prevailing in the first week of this month.
Desi chickpeas and lentils rates have plunged to Rs195 and Rs325 per kg, respectively, from Rs210 and Rs350 per kg. Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2023