Food Prices Up by 8% in September

ISLAMABAD, September 29, 2010: Consumers across the country had to face an extraordinary hike in the prices of consumer commodities in the month of September, as the prices of 46 consumer items and services (out of 69 commodities monitored by FAFEN) increased by an average of 7%when compared with August.

For food commodities, the nationwide inflation rate was recorded at 8%. In contrast, a total of 22 consumer items and services registered a nationwide average price decrease of 6%. The consumers of flood hit districts continued to suffer more as prices of 51 commodities shot up by an average of 10% in the 21 selected flood affected districts, while 16 commodities registered a mere 3% decrease in price, according to FAFEN Retail Price Monitor released here Wednesday.

During the month of September 2010, FAFEN Governance Monitors collected prices of 69 commodities and services at retail outlets in 113 National Assembly constituencies of 72 districts in four provinces, including Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Onion price registered a significantincrease of 105% in September as compared to August. In pulses, mung, gram, mash and lentil prices soared by 16%, 12%, 3%, and 2% respectively, nationwide. In rice, Irri rice price increased by 13%, while the price of broken basmati rice escalated by 6% and basmati rice by 3% nationally. Besides rice, wheat flour registered a price increase of 8% across the country in September as compared to August, 2010. Price increases in staple food items like wheat flour affects consumers more than the price fluctuations in any other consumer item.

However, the price of tomato, which had been increasing for many months finally decreased by 25%. Similarly, potato price, which was on a constant rise since the last few months, remained almost stable with a minor 1% increase. Garlic price however, did not register any respite as it further increased by 6% nationally. Sugar, the price of which has been consistently increasing since July, reached consumers on 10% higher rates this month thanAugust. In meat, chicken price increased by 11%. The prices of mutton and beef also increased by 7% and 2%, respectively. Other food items registering an increase in price include gur (7%), mustard oil (6%), red chilies (5%), egg (4%), white beans (4%), fresh milk (3%), brown sugar (3%), vegetable ghee and oil (3%), bread plain (2%), yogurt, fish, banana and apple (1% each), etc.

The commodities whose prices decreased during September as compared to the previous month included tomato (25% price decrease), green tea (16%), washing powder (11%), dry dates (11%), coriander (9%), toothpaste (9%), butter (6%), turmeric (6%), desi ghee and tea (1% each).

Price hike in consumer commodities was higher in the flood affected areas. Irri rice price went up by 31% in the 21 selected flood hit districts as compared to a nationwide increase of 13%. Mung pulse price observed a 17% increase across the country, but was available at 23% higher rates in the flood hit districts. Similarly, the price of bakery bread in flood hit regions was raised by 20% as compared to a nationwide increase of just 2%. The price of gram pulse increased nationwide by 12% while this increase in flood hit regions is registered at 17%. The prices of apple, garlic, banana and potato that increased nominally nationwide, shot up considerably in the flood hit regions.

Certain commodities and services the prices of which actually decreased in the national sample, escalated in the flood hit districts. Flood affected people had to pay more for sugar, bath soap, mash pulse, red chilies, vegetable oil, fresh milk, salt powder and beef.

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