Short-term inflation stays above 30pc

Published February 24, 2024
Week-on-week, prices for 23 commodities increased and that of eight decreased.—Online/file
Week-on-week, prices for 23 commodities increased and that of eight decreased.—Online/file

ISLAMABAD: Short-term inflation has been on a downward trajectory for the fourth week in a row decelerating to 30.68 per cent year-on-year in the week ending Feb 22, official data showed on Friday.

This comes after a consistent 11-week period of inflation above 40pc, which surged from 29pc recorded on Nov 8, 2023. The spike was primarily fuelled by a surge in gas prices, electricity tariffs, and the cost of essential kitchen items.

The SPI witnessed a 0.04pc week-on-week increase as of Feb 22.

The weekly inflation measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) hit a record 48.35pc year-on-year in early May 2023, but then decelerated as low as 24.4pc in late Aug 2023 before surging past 40pc during the week ending on Nov 16, 2023.

The items whose prices saw the increase week-on-week included tomatoes (22.71pc), bananas (7.40pc), diesel (3.02pc), chicken (1.22pc), petrol (1pc), sugar (0.87pc), mutton (0.86pc), beef (0.74pc), curd (0.71pc), pulse moong (0.54pc), firewood (0.20pc) and georgette (0.14pc).

The items whose prices decreased the most over the previous week included onions (14.42pc), eggs (11.19pc), LPG (1.82pc), cooking oil 5-litre (0.75pc), wheat flour (0.36pc), mustard oil (0.33pc), potatoes (0.23pc) and vegetable ghee 1 kg (0.11pc).

However, on an annual basis, the items whose prices increased the most included gas charges for Q1 (480pc), tomatoes (199.93pc), chillies powder (81.74pc), wheat flour (65.29pc), gents sponge chappal (58.05pc), gents sandal (53.37pc), sugar (50.84pc), gur (48.96pc), gur (48.96pc), salt powdered (39.97pc), garlic (36.31pc) and energy saver (34.17pc).

In contrast, the prices of bananas dropped 17.73pc year-on-year, followed by vegetable ghee 1kg (17.26pc), mustard oil (15.98pc), cooking oil 5-litre (13.66pc), vegetable ghee 2.5kg (12.02pc), LPG (9.42pc) and eggs (5.33pc).

The short-term, or weekly, inflation is measured by a basket of goods and services called the SPI, which stood at 315.31 compared to 315.18 in the preceding week and 241.29 a year ago.

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. Data showed that the prices of 23 items increased, those of 08 items decreased and those of 20 items remained stable compared to the previous week.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2024

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