Weekly inflation spikes to 42.6pc on costly energy

Published December 9, 2023
Food prices led by onions, eggs, pulse moong, sugar, bananas etc maintained a bullish trend week-on-week.—Reuters/file
Food prices led by onions, eggs, pulse moong, sugar, bananas etc maintained a bullish trend week-on-week.—Reuters/file

ISLAMABAD: Annual short-term inflation surged 42.68 per cent in the week ending on Dec 7, primarily fuelled by a rise in gas and electricity prices, reported the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Friday.

The weekly inflation remained above 41pc for the fourth week in a row as gas prices stood over 1,100pc higher than a year ago. This record-setting surge in prices has significantly eroded consumer purchasing power, underscoring the financial strain on households.

After gas, the electricity price also saw an increase of 2.03pc in the week under review from the preceding week.

On annual basis, the price of gas charges for Q1 increased (1,108.59pc), cigarettes (94.20pc), wheat flour (85.05pc), chilies powder (81.74pc), garlic (73.09pc), rice basmati broken (68.53pc), rice IRRI 6/9 (60.94pc), gents sponge chappal (58.05pc), gents sandal (53.37pc), gur (50.56pc), tea lipton (44.65pc) and pulse mash (44.04pc).

In contrast, the prices of onions dropped 22.59pc year-on-year, followed by tomatoes (6.97pc), mustard oil (4.04pc), vegetable ghee 1 Kg (3pc), vegetable ghee 2.5kg (1.30pc) and bananas (0.01pc).

The short-term, or weekly, inflation is measured by a basket of goods and services called the Sensitive Price Index (SPI), which stood at 308.90 compared to 309.09 in the preceding week.

The index, comprising 51 items collected from 50 markets in 17 cities, is computed weekly to assess the prices of essential commodities and services at shorter intervals.

The PBS data showed that the prices of 15 items increased, those of 14 items decreased and those of 22 items remained stable compared to the previous week.

The items whose prices saw the highest increase week-on-week included onions (8.42pc), eggs (2.52pc), pulse moong (0.88pc), sugar (0.84pc), bananas (0.67pc), firewood (0.55pc), LPG (0.42pc), tea prepared (0.37pc), pulse masoor (0.10pc), mustard oil (0.09pc) and curd (0.02pc).

By comparison, the items whose prices dropped the most included tomatoes (9.82pc), potatoes (4.34pc), chicken (2.99pc), tea lipton (2.58pc), diesel (2.31), rice basmati broken (2pc), vegetable ghee 2.5 kg (0.43pc), cooking oil 5 litre (0.38pc), wheat flour (0.35pc), pulse gram (0.27pc) and vegetable ghee 1kg (0.16pc).

On an annual basis, the SPI inflation hit a record 48.35pc in early May but then decelerated to as low as 24.4pc in late August before surging past 40pc during the week ending on Nov 16.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2023

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