Power tariff hike pushes weekly inflation to 9-month high


People buy dry fruits at a market in Karachi, February 1, 2023. — Reuters
People buy dry fruits at a market in Karachi, February 1, 2023. — Reuters
  • Prices of electricity, tomatoes, eggs, garlic, onions increased.
  • Prices of sugar, cooking oil, wheat flour, pulses go down.
  • Prices of 20 increase, 7 decrease, 24 remain unchanged.

KARACHI: Pakistan’s weekly inflation surged to 3.73% week-on-week — the highest in nine months — as electricity prices soared in the country, while annualised inflation was 29.21% during the period ended July 26, The News reported Friday.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data issued on Friday, the increase in the sensitive price indicator (SPI) was attributed to the increase in the prices of chili powder (28.98%), electricity for Q1 (20.98%), tomatoes (19.71%), eggs (4.77%), LPG (4.12%), garlic (3.09%), onions (2.58%), gur (2.18%), and potatoes (2.09%).

On the other hand, a major decrease was observed in the prices of bananas (5.36%), sugar (1.15%), vegetable ghee 2.5kg (0.93%), cooking oil 2.5kg (0.89%), vegetable ghee 1kg (0.72%), wheat flour (0.17%), and pulse moong (0.16%).

Fahad Rauf, head of research at Ismail Iqbal Securities said this was the highest WoW change in SPI since October 2022.

“The change is dominated by electricity charges. The government has notified an increase in base tariff by up to 27% for residential consumers,” he added.

He also said that broadly, inflationary pressures had eased recently, and the consumer price index was likely to continue its decline gradually over the next few months.

“Full-year average inflation is expected to be close to 20% as compared to IMF’s expectations of 26%,” Rauf added.

SPI for the week ended July 26, 2023 recorded the highest WoW increase since October 27, 2022. In October 2022, it was up 4.13% WoW and 30.68% YoY.

For the week under review, SPI was recorded at 268.08 points against 258.45 points registered last week and 207.47 points recorded during the week ended July 28, 2022.

PBS compiles SPI via collecting prices of 51 essential items from 50 markets in 17 cities.

During the week, out of 51 items, prices of 20 (39.22%) items increased, 7 (13.73%) items decreased, and prices of 24 (47.05%) items remained unchanged.

Different weightages are assigned to various commodities in the SPI basket.

Commodities with the highest weights for the lowest quintile include milk (17.5449%), electricity (8.3627%), wheat flour (6.1372%), sugar (5.1148%), firewood (5.0183%), long cloth (4.2221%), and vegetable ghee (3.2833%).

Of these commodities, the price of milk and electricity went up; wheat flour, sugar, and vegetable ghee decreased, whereas the prices of firewood and long cloth remained unchanged.

For the groups spending up to Rs17,732; Rs17,733-22,888; Rs22,889-29,517; Rs29,518-44,175; and above Rs44,175; YoY SPI increased 28.92%, 26.65%, 31.71%, 32.74%, and 30.31% respectively.

The YoY trend depicts an increase of 29.21%, on account of rising prices of wheat flour (132.36%), cigarettes (110.75%), gas charges for Q1 (108.38%), tea (97.71%), broken basmati rice (79.60%), rice irri-6/9 (73.23%), sugar (63.72%), potatoes (62.65%), tomatoes (60.50%), gents sponge chappal (58.05%), gur (57.57%), chili powder (55.00%), and chicken (54.52%).

Commodities that registered YoY decline in prices included onions (25.53%), electricity for Q1 (18.06%), pulse masoor (11.49%), LPG (3.75%), and vegetable ghee 1kg (0.77%).


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