The inflation data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday for the week ending on Aug. 25 slid slightly from 3.35 percent last week to 1.83 percent, but the year-on-year inflation was recorded at a whopping 44.58 percent in the Sensitive Price Index (SPI).
Continuing the trend of shattering inflation records, the year-on-year inflation for this week was the highest ever recorded, exceeding the 42.3 percent recorded last week. According to the data released by the PBS, this week’s inflation was primarily due to higher prices of essential food items such as tomatoes, onions, pulses and cooking oil, and fuel. It said the prices of 23 items had increased; seven had decreased; while 21 had remained unchanged.
The SPI monitors prices of 51 essential items based on a survey of 50 markets in 17 cities of the country. The PBS said the combined income group index went up from 216.02 points during the week that ended on Aug. 18 to 219.97 points in the week under review. It said the SPI for the lowest income group—people earning less than Rs. 17,732/month—increased by 2.66% in the past week, from 219.64 points to 225.48 points.
According to the PBS, the following items posted the largest increases in the past week:
- Tomatoes – 43.09%
- Onions – 41.13%
- Potatoes – 6.32%
- Eggs – 3.43%
- Cigarettes – 2.26%
- Garlic – 2.23%
The highest recorded decreases were:
- Pulse Masoor – 1.18%
- Ghee (1kg) – 1%
- Ghee (2.5kg) – 0.82%
- Bananas – 0.61%
- Cooking oil (5 liters) – 0.51%
- Sugar – 0.28%
Meanwhile, the major recorded price increases over the past year:
- Tomatoes – 178.1%
- Onions – 155.14%
- High speed diesel – 108.77%
- Petrol – 94.53%
- Pulse Masoor – 90.74%
- Cooking oil (five liters) – 70.61%
Observers have warned the current bout of inflation would likely worsen in the coming weeks, as flooding across more than half the country has destroyed several standing crops and could provoke a food shortage. Gaps in road linkages are also likely to increase transportation costs, spelling further price increases for essential commodities.