SPI inflation eases below 30pc after 18 weeks

Published March 23, 2024
On a week-on-week basis, the SPI dropped 1.13pc. The prices of nine items increased, 17 items decreased, and 25 items remained stable.—Reuters/file
On a week-on-week basis, the SPI dropped 1.13pc. The prices of nine items increased, 17 items decreased, and 25 items remained stable.—Reuters/file

ISLAMABAD: Short-term inflation decelerated year-on-year to 29.06 per cent in the week ending March 21 after staying elevated above 30 per cent for the last 18 weeks, official data showed on Friday.

The weekly inflation, measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI), eased mainly due to a declining trend in the prices of tomatoes, onions and potatoes.

In the preceding week, it was recorded at 32.89pc on an annual basis. The SPI witnessed a 1.13pc week-on-week decline as of March 21.

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 weekly inflation 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 decline week-on-week included tomatoes (36.73pc), onions (19.58pc), potatoes (4.02pc), garlic (2.87pc), pulse mash (1.25pc), wheat flour (1.02pc), sugar (0.95pc), pulse masoor (0.86pc) and diesel (0.60pc).

The items whose prices increased the most over the previous week included LPG (1.49pc), shirting (0.74pc), beef (0.53pc), rice basmati broken (0.48pc), mutton (0.42pc), mustard oil (0.40pc), rice irri 6/9 (0.25pc), powdered milk (0.14pc) and georgette (0.03pc).

However, on an annual basis, the items whose prices increased the most included gas charges for Q1 (570pc), chillies powder (86.05pc), gents sponge chappal (58.05pc), garlic (57.41pc), onions (54.65pc), gents sandal (53.37pc), gur (39.86pc), sugar (35.01pc), salt powder (33.29pc), energy saver (29.83pc) and pulse mash (27.31pc).

In contrast, the prices of cooking oil 5-litre dropped by 21.35pc, followed by vegetable ghee 2.5 Kg (18.48pc), vegetable ghee 1 Kg (18.44pc), mustard oil (13.90pc), bananas (13.52pc), diesel (2.47pc) and cigarettes (0.06pc).

The short-term, or weekly, inflation is measured by a basket of goods and services called the SPI, which stood at 323.50 compared to 327.21 in the preceding week and 250.66 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 nine items increased, those of 17 items decreased and those of 25 items remained stable compared to the previous week.

Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2024

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