Rain-weary Pakistanis hit hard by food inflation with SPI rising to 42.31%


A vegetable seller can be seen selling fresh vegetables to consumers. — AFP/File
A vegetable seller can be seen selling fresh vegetables to consumers. — AFP/File
  • Average prices of 25 essential items rise during the outgoing week.
  • “Supply disruptions due to rain is a matter of concern,” Dr Khaqan says.
  • Rapid changes in petrol prices have put pressure on the masses.

ISLAMABAD: Following an increase in petrol and food prices, the weekly inflation — based on the sensitive price index (SPI) — surged by 3.35% week-on-week and 42.31% year-on-year during the week ended August 18.

Data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed that the average prices of 25 essential items, vegetables, eggs, chicken, milk and other items rose during the outgoing week.

Prices of 11 items, including vegetable ghee, mustard oil, pulses, etc have declined. Meanwhile, the rates for 15 essential goods remained unchanged.

Former adviser to Finance Ministry Dr Khaqan Najeeb said SPI rose due to food prices — tomatoes, chicken and non-food (electricity charges, petrol).

“Supply disruptions due to heavy rain is a matter of concern,” he added.

The combined income group index went up from 209.01 points during the week that ended on August 11 to 216.02 points in the week under review.

The SPI for the lowest income group increased by 1.80% compared to the previous week. The index for the group stood at 219.64 points against 215.76 points in the previous week.

On weekly basis prices of following essential items rose:

Food items:

  • Tomatoes — 20.28%
  • Chicken — 7.57%
  • Onions — 2.30%
  • Powdered milk — 2.03%
  • Eggs — 1.63%

Non-food items:

  • Electricity charges for Q1 —6.83%
  • Petrol super — 2.96%
  • Cigarette — 1.69%

On weekly basis prices of following essential items decreased:

Food items:

  • Vegetable ghee (1kg) —1.16%
  • Garlic — 0.94%
  • Mustard oil — 0.71%
  • Pulse masoor — 0.42%
  • Cooking oil (five litre) — 0.31%
  • Sugar — 0.03%

Non-food items:

  • LPG — 3.46%
  • Diesel — 0.18%

Rapid changes in petrol prices — which has a weightage of 6.7% in the SPI basket — have put huge pressure on the masses, particularly those from the low- and middle-income groups. Moreover, stagnant wages add to the woes.

SPI is computed on weekly basis to assess the price movements of essential commodities at a shorter interval of time to review the price situation in the country. It comprises 51 essential items and the prices are collected from 50 markets in 17 cities of the country.

‘Unbearable pain’

Former planning minister and PTI leader Asad Umar said that latest inflation of essential items shows this inflation at 42%.

“Unbearable pain being inflicted,” he wrote on Twitter.



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