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Spike in Food and Fuel Prices Drives Weekly Inflation Up by 1.35%

Weekly Inflation

ISLAMABAD: Pakistanis faced continued economic challenges during the holy month of Ramadan as weekly inflation surged by 1.35% in the week ending on March 14, primarily driven by the escalation in prices of essential food items and fuel, on Saturday.

Data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) revealed a steady increase in the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) inflation over the past month, reaching 32.89% year-on-year during the reviewed week.

The SPI, tracking 51 essential items, indicated that 18 items experienced price hikes, 10 witnessed reductions, while 23 remained unchanged.

Among the notable increases, tomato prices surged by 21.96%, followed by bananas at 21.76%, eggs at 7.15%, onions at 5.6%, LPG at 4.45%, garlic at 3.6%, mutton at 1.7%, beef at 1.5%, and chicken at 1.4%.

Conversely, cooking oil (5 liters), vegetable ghee (2.5 Kg), and wheat flour witnessed a marginal decrease of 1% in their prices. Sugar prices declined by 0.64%, gur by 0.57%, basmati broken rice by 0.50%, and pulses (masoor and mash) by 0.17% and 0.15% respectively compared to the previous week.

Analysis of SPI percentage change across income groups indicated a decrease in SPI across all three quantiles, with an increase observed across two quantiles.

For the lowest income groups earning up to Rs17,732 per month, SPI rose by 27.83%, while registering a 28.9% increase for the highest income groups with salaries exceeding Rs44,175 per month.

Comparing SPI with the previous year, significant year-on-year increases were recorded in gas charges (570%), tomatoes (186%), onions (90%), chili powder (82%), gents’ sponge chappal (58%), wheat flour (52%), gur (41%), sugar (37%), and salt powder (35%). Conversely, cooking oil (5 liters), vegetable ghee (1 Kg), vegetable ghee (2.5 Kg), mustard oil, and bananas witnessed declines of 21%, 19%, 18%, 15%, and 4% respectively.

The persistent rise in inflationary pressures underscores the ongoing economic challenges faced by Pakistani households, particularly during the sacred month of Ramadan.

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