Karachi, September 8, 2023 – Alarming data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday reveals that the prices of wheat flour and sugar have doubled over the past year, adding to the economic challenges faced by the nation.
The information was part of the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) based inflation report for the week ending September 7, 2023.
The SPI is a crucial indicator computed on a weekly basis to monitor the price movements of essential commodities at shorter intervals, allowing authorities to review the overall price situation in the country. It encompasses 51 essential items collected from 50 markets across 17 cities in Pakistan.
The year-on-year trend is particularly concerning, with an overall increase of 26.32 percent. Wheat flour has seen an alarming surge of 117.71 percent, followed by gas charges for Q1 at 108.38 percent, and sugar at 107.36 percent. Other notable increases include cigarettes (100.16 percent), rice basmati broken (90.66 percent), Lipton tea (88.41 percent), chili powder (86.05 percent), rice Irri-6/9 (84.18 percent), gur (72.83 percent), gents’ sponge chappal (58.05 percent), gents’ sandal (53.37 percent), powdered salt (52.07 percent), powdered milk (42.45 percent), and bread (42.33 percent).
However, there has been a decrease in the prices of certain items, including tomatoes (34.77 percent), onions (23.44 percent), and electricity for Q1 (21.96 percent).
The SPI for the current week, ending on September 7, 2023, has risen by 0.96 percent. Major increases have been observed in the prices of various food items, notably tomatoes (17.00 percent), pulse masoor (10.87 percent), sugar (6.73 percent), garlic (4.66 percent), gur (3.62 percent), pulse moong (3.55 percent), onions (3.43 percent), and pulse gram (3.25 percent). Among non-food items, diesel prices have surged by 6.28 percent, followed by LPG (5.19 percent) and petrol (5.12 percent).
On the contrary, some items have witnessed a decrease in prices during the same week, including chicken (3.20 percent), 5-liter cooking oil (1.03 percent), 2.5 kg vegetable ghee (0.47 percent), Lipton tea (0.43 percent), and 1 kg vegetable ghee (0.14 percent).
Throughout the week, out of the 51 items in the SPI, prices of 32 (62.75 percent) items increased, while 5 (9.80 percent) items experienced a decrease, and 14 (27.45 percent) items remained stable.
These price hikes, particularly in basic food items such as wheat and sugar, pose significant challenges to the cost of living for Pakistani citizens and add to the ongoing concerns about inflation and its impact on the economy.