An increase in gas prices has driven the annual short-term inflation in Pakistan to above 40 per cent for the first time in over four months, official data showed on Friday, Dawn reported. Dawn is a Pakistani English-language newspaper.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said the inflation reading stood at 41.9 per cent for the week ending November 16 mainly because of an over 1,100 per cent increase in gas charges compared to a year ago.
Other items whose prices increased the most included cigarettes (94.5 per cent), wheat flour (86.4 per cent), chilli powder (81.7 per cent), broken basmati rice (76.7 per cent), garlic (63.6 per cent), IRRI 6/9 rice (61.9 per cent), tea (54.6 per cent), gur (51 per cent), and sugar (50 per cent).
In contrast, the prices of onions dropped 36.2 per cent year-on-year, followed by tomatoes (-14 per cent), mustard oil (-3.95 per cent), vegetable ghee (-2 per cent) and pulse gram (-0.5 per cent), as per Dawn.
The short-term inflation, measured by a basket of goods and services called the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), also saw a massive increase compared to the previous week, rocketing to 10 per cent in the November 11-16 week from just 0.73 per cent a week ago.
The SPI, which currently stands at 309, is computed weekly to assess the prices of essential commodities and services at shorter intervals. The index comprises 51 items collected from 50 markets in 17 cities.
The PBS data showed that the prices of 25 items increased, those of 13 items decreased and those of 13 items remained almost unchanged compared to the previous week.
As per Dawn, the items whose prices saw the highest increase week-on-week included gas (480 per cent), tea packet (8.9 per cent), pulse masoor (5.3 per cent), chicken (4 per cent), garlic (3 per cent), salt powdered (2.9 per cent), wheat flour (2.6 per cent), tea prepared (2.07 per cent), LPG (2.03 per cent), and potatoes (2 per cent).
On the other hand, the items with the highest price decreases included electricity charges (-16 per cent), tomatoes (-11.2 per cent), sugar (-4.2 per cent), diesel (-2.2 per cent), onions (-1.49 per cent), vegetable ghee (-1.39 per cent), petrol (-0.73 per cent), cooking oil (-0.65 per cent).
The SPI inflation on an annual basis, hit a record 48.35 per cent in early May but then cooled to as low as 24.4 per cent in late August before crossing 40 per cent last week.
From November 1, the Pakistan caretaker government notified a substantial hike of 194 per cent in natural gas prices. In addition, consumers will also witness an unprecedented surge in fixed monthly gas charges, up to 3,900 per cent for protected and non-protected consumers.
Meanwhile, it was recently reported that Gold prices in Pakistan have surged by Pakistani rupee PKR 2,000 per tola, ARY News reported.
ARY News is a Pakistani news channel.
All Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Association (APGJA) said the price of 24-karat gold per tola increased by PKR 2,000 to settle at PKR 214,800 per tola.
As per APGJA, after a surge of PKR 1,714, 10 grams of 24-karat gold had settled at PKR 184,156.
The 10-gram price of 22-karat gold has reached PKR 168,810.
The price of gold in the international market increased by USD 23 to settle at USD 1,988 per ounce, as per ARY News.