Pakistan: Inflation stays above 40 pc for second week in row

Pakistani economy finance

The annual short-term inflation in Pakistan remained above 40 per cent for the second week in a row, mainly driven by a massive increase in gas prices, official data showed on Friday, Dawn newspaper reported.

Dawn is a Pakistani English-language newspaper.

The inflation reading was 41.13 per cent for the week ending November 23, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said, as gas prices stood over 1,100 per cent higher than a year ago.

After gas, other items whose prices increased the most included cigarettes (94 per cent), wheat flour (88.2 per cent), chilli powder (81.7 per cent), broken basmati rice (76.6 per cent), garlic (71 per cent), Irri-6/9 rice (62.3 per cent), gents’ sponge chappal (58 per cent), gents’ sandal (53.37 per cent), branded tea (53 per cent), gur (50.8 per cent), and potatoes (47.9 per cent).

In contrast, the prices of onions dropped 36.2 per cent year-on-year, followed by tomatoes (-18.1 per cent), mustard oil (-4 per cent) and vegetable ghee (-2.9 per cent).

On a week-on-week basis, however, consumer prices were unchanged in the outgoing week in sharp contrast to the previous week’s reading when the prices skyrocketed 10 per cent as the hike in gas prices came into effect.

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

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.

According to the PBS data, the prices of 18 items increased, those of 12 items decreased and those of 21 items remained stable compared to the previous week.

The items whose prices saw the highest increase week-on-week included garlic (4.6 per cent), onion (2.4 per cent), chicken (1.8 per cent), potatoes (1.7 per cent), pulse masoor (1.01 per cent), LPG (0.8 per cent), firewood (0.6 per cent), wheat flour (0.54 per cent), matchbox (0.52 per cent), pulse moong (0.52 per cent) and plain bread (0.47 per cent).

By comparison, the items whose prices dropped the most included tomatoes (-5.8 per cent), vegetable ghee (-1.4 per cent), cooking oil (-1.3 per cent), banana (-0.9 per cent), vegetable ghee (-0.82 per cent), eggs (-0.33 per cent), sugar (-0.2 per cent) and packed tea (-0.17 per cent).

On an annual basis, the SPI inflation hit a record 48.35 per cent in early May but then cooled to as low as 24.4 per cent in late August before crossing 40 per cent during the week ending November 16. 

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