ISLAMABAD: A hike in prices of tomatoes, edible oil and LPG pushed weekly inflation to over 21-week high at 1.53 percent week-on-week and 17.87 percent year-on-year during the seven-day period ended April 7, making the middle and lower income groups more miserable.
Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data attributed the increase to rising prices of tomatoes (52.75 percent), onions (27.34 percent), bananas (12.24 percent), garlic (2.80 percent), beef (2.74 percent), mutton (2.70 percent), cooking oil 5 litre (2.29 percent, powdered salt (1.70 percent), vegetable ghee 1kg (1.35 percent), and LPG (2.14 percent). The joint impact of these commodities was 1.59 percent in the overall sensitive price indicator (SPI) for the combined group.
During the week under review, a kilo of tomatoes was sold for Rs154.05 on average, up Rs53.2 from last week’s Rs100.85/kg. Supply chain issues and Ramazan have been cited as the major reasons for this spike in prices of tomatoes, which are part of most dishes in the country.
Arif Habib Limited in a tweet said the SPI for the week ended April 7 recorded the highest increase since November 11, 2021 on week-on-week basis.
A day ago, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) raised interest rates by 250 basis points to 12.25 percent in an emergency meeting. “This strong and proactive policy response was necessitated by a deterioration in outlook for inflation and increase in risks to external stability since last meeting,” the SBP said.
PBS computes SPI inflation on a weekly basis to gauge the price movement of essential commodities at a shorter interval of time so as 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.
During the week, out of 51 items, prices of 22 items increased, eight items decreased, whereas prices of 21 items remained unchanged.
SPI was recorded at 174.45 points against 171.82 points registered previously.
PBS data attributes different weightages to the commodities in the SPI basket. Commodities with the highest weights for the lowest quintile include milk (17.5449 points), electricity (8.3627 points), wheat flour (6.1372 points), sugar (5.1148 points), firewood (5.0183 points), long cloth (4.2221 points), and vegetable ghee (3.2833 points). Of these commodities, WoW prices of milk, firewood, and vegetable ghee increased, wheat flour and sugar declined, whereas rates of electricity and long cloth remained the same.
Average price of a 1kg pouch of vegetable ghee increased to Rs474.23 during the week, up from Rs467.92 last week, and Rs302.28 last year. On August 16, 2018 vegetable ghee was being sold for Rs150.32/1kg pouch.