During the month of July 2010, FAFEN Governance Monitors collected prices of 69 commodities and services at retail outlets in 129 National Assembly constituencies in 82 districts in the four provinces, Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). The prices of some fresh food items like tomatoes, potatoes, garlic and mangoes increased in the month of July as compared to the preceding month in parts of the country, perhaps in anticipation of Ramadan, which will begin in August.
The prices of the two most commonly used vegetables – tomatoes and potatoes – registered high increases of 35% and 11%, respectively. Garlic price went up by 9% in July as compared to June 2010. Potato and garlic prices continued an upward trend for the second consecutive month. Mango prices, which were quite low in June, went up by 6% in July.
Sugar prices also increased by 7%, perhaps as information of inadequate stocks of this commodity started reaching the market, with fears of yet another sugar crisis. Meat prices also increased in July as compared to June, with beef increasing by 5%, chicken by 3% and mutton by 2%, indicating that prices of meats may further increase during Ramadan. Fresh milk and yogurt prices also registered an increase of 2% each. Basmati rice price was up slightly in July (1% as compared to June prices), while the price of Rice Irri was up by 3% nationally. The prices of mash, lobia, gram and moong pulses were up by 4%, 3%, 2% and 1%, respectively. Firewood prices registered an increase of 8% in the reporting month as compared to the preceding one.
While 35 consumer commodities and services registered increases in price, 28 consumer items were available at relatively cheaper prices in July as compared to June. In general-use consumer items, the price of washing powder and toothpaste decreased by 19% and 6%, respectively, in July as compared with June.
Apples were available at 13% lower prices. Dry dates and bananas were also relatively cheaper in July as compared to June 2010 (7% and 4% decrease in price, respectively). Salt powder was available 6% cheaper in July. The prices of diesel and petrol lowered by 4% and 2%, respectively. Onion and chicken eggs also registered a decrease of 3% and 2%, respectively, in the reporting month. Wheat flour was available at 1% lower price. Some medical diagnostic tests were also relatively cheaper in July as compared to June 2010, with the price of a pregnancy test and sugar (blood glucose) test decreased by 1% each.
There was a wide regional variance in terms of changes in the prices of some essential commodities. For instance, the price of tomatoes, the food item with the most fluctuating price, registered an increase of 62% in Punjab and 61% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as compared to just 8% in Sindh. In contrast, the price of the same commodity decreased by 14% in the province of Balochistan, which enjoyed the harvesting season of this commodity in reporting month. There was a nominal increase of 1% in the price of Basmati rice nationwide, but it increased by 28% in FATA. FAFEN compared the data collected by its Governance Monitors with the Sensitive Price Index of the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS), which revealed differences in the prices of many items collected from the same districts. In some items, the prices listed by the FBS were higher than FAFEN’s, and in some cases they were lower.
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