Wednesday July 17, 2024

SPI inflation cools for sixth week, falls 0.34 percent’

By Israr Khan
May 25, 2024
A person counts Rs100 notes in this undated image. — AFP/File
A person counts Rs100 notes in this undated image. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The weekly inflation rate fell 0.34 percent in the week ending May 23, as a slowdown in food prices helped drive the sixth consecutive decline, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data showed on Friday.

Since the week ending April 18, the SPI started to nosedive and fell by 0.79 percent, April 25 (1.1pc), May 2 (1.0pc), May 9 (1.39pc), May 16 (1.06pc), and now during the week under review, it fell further by 0.34 percent over the previous week.

Whereas on year-on-year, the SPI that gauges the prices of 51 essential items, increased by 21.3 percent—the lowest reading of last two years. In the previous week, it was 21.2 percent.

During these almost two years, the highest SPI reading was recorded at 48.35 percent in the week ending on May 4, 2023.

The consistent decrease in inflation has been attributed to softening food prices as this trend provides some relief to consumers amid ongoing economic challenges.After a sharp decline in SPI for the last several weeks, independent economists are now confident that it will also push down the headline monthly CPI inflation sizable. Notably, in April 2024, CPI was at 17.3 percent year-on-year (YoY), down from March's reading of 20.68 percent.

As per the PBS data, the weekly percentage change by income groups showed that SPI decreased across all quantiles ranging from -0.33 percent and -0.39 percent. The lowest income group experienced a weekly fall of 0.38 percent, while the highest income group experienced a fall of 0.33 percent.

On a yearly basis, SPI increased across all quantiles ranging between 14.49 percent and 24.62 percent. Yearly SPI for the lowest income Group increased by 14.49 percent while the highest income group recorded an increase of 19.2 percent.

Out of 51 items, the SPI is tracking, 12 items' prices increased, 18 decreased, and the other 21 were stable.As per the indicator, notable reductions were observed in the prices of garlic over the previous week which dropped by 7.9 percent to Rs509/kg, chicken (live) by 5.9 percent to Rs321/kg, wheat flour by 4.7 percent to Rs1,818/20kg, LPG also cheaper by 3.23 percent to Rs2,790/11.67kg cylinder, onions by 1.99 percent to Rs97/kg. Likewise, egg prices also reduced by 1.2 percent to Rs257/dozen, rice basmati (broken) by 1.12 percent to Rs215/kg while masoor pulse and Rice IRRI prices fell by less than a percent over the previous week.

On a year-on-year basis, gas prices hiked by 570 percentfor the lowest consumer slab, followed by an 88 percent spike in onion prices. Similarly, Chilies' power was expensive by 70 percent, garlic by 53 percent, and tomato by 39 percent. Powder salt was expensive by 33 percent and shirting by 30 percent.

Likewise, gents' sandals were costlier by 25 percent, beef by 24 percent, energy-saving bulbs by 22 percent, mash pulse by 22 percent and sugar was costlier by 20 percent over the prices of the same week of the last year.

Conversely, on a year-on-year, bananas were cheaper by 38 percent, wheat flour by 31 percent, chicken by 23 percent, cooking oil 5 Litre by 19 percent, vegetable ghee by 16 percent, mustard oil by 12 percent and LPG was cheaper by 11 percent.