Islamabad, September 1, 2023 – Startling official statistics reveal that the prices of essential commodities, including wheat flour, sugar, and tea, have surged to nearly double their previous rates over the past year, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday.
The PBS reported that the price of wheat flour has skyrocketed by a staggering 126.26 percent, sugar by 94 percent, and tea by 93.94 percent over the past year. These alarming increases in basic food staples have raised concerns about the cost of living and access to essential goods for the citizens of Pakistan.
The PBS uses the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) to assess the price movement of essential commodities on a weekly basis. The SPI is designed to provide a shorter interval assessment of price fluctuations for essential items, allowing authorities to monitor the price situation in the country more closely. It is based on data collected from 50 markets in 17 cities across Pakistan and comprises 51 essential items.
According to the PBS, the year-on-year trend indicates significant increases in various commodities, with wheat flour topping the list at a staggering 126.26 percent rise. Other notable increases include gas charges for Q1 (108.38%), cigarettes (101.29%), sugar (94.06%), tea (93.94%), rice Basmati Broken (89.04%), and more. These price hikes across a range of essential goods have added to the financial burden on Pakistani households.
However, there have been slight decreases in the prices of certain items, including onions (57.06% decrease), tomatoes (48.77% decrease), electricity for Q1 (21.96% decrease), and pulse masoor (9.04% decrease).
The SPI for the most recent week, ending on August 31, 2023, recorded an increase of 0.54%. This increase was primarily driven by rising prices in food items such as sugar (7.17%), gur (2.11%), and pulse masoor (1.50%). Non-food items also saw price increases, including gents sandal (15.01%) and LPG (3.92%). On the other hand, prices of certain items like tomatoes (3.36% decrease) and bananas (2.49% decrease) saw a decline.
During the past week, out of the 51 items monitored, prices of 20 (39.22%) items increased, 08 (15.68%) items decreased, while 23 (45.10%) items remained stable.
These substantial increases in the prices of essential goods underscore the pressing issue of inflation in Pakistan, which poses challenges to the financial stability and well-being of its citizens. Efforts to manage and alleviate these price increases remain a critical concern for the government and policymakers.