KARACHI: Flood-induced supply chain disruptions have pushed up prices of perishables, pushing weekly inflation to a record high of 45.5% on an annualized basis, with a weekly increase of 1, 31% in the seven-day period ended September 1.

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data released on Friday attributed the annual increase in SPI to rising prices of onions (42.17%), tomatoes (13.25%), pulses (7. 94%), potatoes (6.97%), LPG (4.45%), eggs (3.84%), chicken (3.25%), legumes (2.89%), wheat (1.49%), pulse mash (1.26%), bread (1.22%), diesel (1.19%) and gasoline (0.88%).

Fahad Rauf, head of research at Ismail Iqbal Securities, said the rise was mainly due to onion prices. “Contrary to expectations, tomato prices only increased by 13% despite the supply constraints linked to the floods. In Karachi, our market research suggests supply has improved due to the availability of imported tomatoes. »

In his inflation forecast, Rauf added: “We expect inflationary pressures to continue due to the impact of the floods. However, the immediate shock could be reduced if the supply of perishables is managed by imports.

Pakistan’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation hit a 47-year high of 27.3% in August 2022, the level last seen in May 1975, with the full impact of the floods massive changes in food and other commodity prices yet to come.

When PTI’s Imran Khan took office as Prime Minister in August 2018, the year-over-year SPI stood at 4.18% (week ended August 16, 2018). Shahbaz Sharif took office on April 11, 2022, when the SPI YoY was 17.87%. The annualized SPI has more than doubled in less than five months.

With the CPI at its highest in 47 years and the SPI at its highest in more than a decade, all spending groups are under severe pressure. PBS data showed that for groups spending up to Rs 17,732; 17,733-22,888 rupees; Rs22,889-29,517; Rs29,518-44,175; and above Rs44,175; The year-over-year SPI increased by 38.73, 44.55, 42.93, 42.81 and 46.10%, respectively. Based on WoW, the change for groups was 1.63, 1.53, 1.43, 1.39, and 1.20%, respectively.

Zaheer Zaidi, a retiree, lamenting the rise in prices, said it was getting more expensive to make ends meet. “I went to the market with Rs500 yesterday and was only able to come back with a kilo of potatoes, half a kilo of onions and only 250 grams of tomatoes for Rs50. The cooking oil prices are also unbearable.

SPI includes 51 essential items collected from 50 markets in 17 cities across the country. During the week, out of 51 items, the prices of 31 items (60.79%) increased, 3 items (05.88%) decreased and 17 items (33.33%) remained stable.

Vegetable and fruit prices have increased due to massive flooding across the country which destroyed standing crops and washed away roads and bridges, severely disrupting the country’s agricultural supply chain.

The biggest increase of 108% in onion prices was noted in Sukkur, where one kilo rose from Rs87 to Rs250; in terms of price, perishables were the most expensive in Islamabad at Rs268/kg. In percentage terms, tomato prices rose sharply in Khuzdar by 97% (from 100 rupees/kg on 25 August to 197 rupees/kg on 1 September). In terms of price, tomatoes were the most expensive in Bahawalpur at Rs233/kg.

On a yearly basis, PBS linked the rise in the SPI to higher prices for onions (240.15%), tomatoes (219.99%), diesel (114.08%), gasoline (98 .73%), masoor legumes (82.44%), 5 liter cooking oil (70.60%), mustard oil (67.50%), laundry soap (64.81%), Vegetable ghee 2.5 kg (63.70%), electricity for Q1 (63.01%), vegetable ghee 1 kg (61.16%), pulse gram (58.54%). ), pulse puree (49.36%) and LPG (45.23%).