Wheat flour price enforcement improves, other commodities ignored: report

FAFEN’s Weekly Price Monitor conducted on August 13 shows 76pc traders sold wheat at officially notified prices compared to 70pc in the previous week

ISLAMABAD: While the enforcement of official prices of wheat flour improved during the current week, enforcement of official prices of other commodities remained lax.

According to the 16th Weekly Price Monitor issued by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), 76 per cent traders sold wheat at officially notified prices during this week compared to 70 per cent in the previous week.

The Weekly Price Monitor conducted on August 13, comprises a market survey of the prices of 15 basic grocery products. The survey was conducted in 34 cities across Pakistan.

A two-week comparison of market prices of routine vegetables including potatoes, onions and tomatoes showed varying patterns. Around a third of the surveyed markets recorded an increase in prices during the week under review compared to the previous week. Another third of the surveyed markets showed a decrease in prices while the remaining reported stable prices of vegetables.

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The wholesale prices of wheat flour remained largely stable across the 27 regions, where the rates for the last two weeks were available. However, five districts, three in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) recorded an up to nine per cent (Rs10 to Rs100) increase in the price of a 20-kilogramme (kg) bag of wheat.

The wholesale prices of sugar witnessed an up to 12 per cent (Rs1 to Rs10) increase in nine districts, six in Punjab, two in Sindh, and one in Balochistan. Karachi South reported the most significant hike where the per kilogramme (kg) price of sugar rose by Rs10 in a week.

On the other hand, the rates fell up to five per cent (Rs1 to Rs5) in five districts, one in KP and two each in Punjab and Balochistan. Nearly half of the comparable regions had the same sugar prices on August 13, as reported on August 6, 2020.

Like the preceding weeks, prices of chicken continued to decline in 16 districts, eight in Punjab, four in KP, and two each in Sindh and Balochistan.These districts recorded a seven per cent (Rs10) to 44 per cent (Rs86) decrease in prices of chicken.

On the other hand, three districts, including Karachi Central, Kalat, and Lasbela, saw a seven per cent (Rs10) to 60 per cent (Rs120) hike in the price of chicken. In nearly a quarter of the comparable districts, the prices of chicken remained stable.

The prices of tomatoes showed an increase in twelve districts, a decrease in ten regions, and remained stable in seven other districts. The highest increase in per kg price of tomatoes was seen in Hafizabad, where price more than tripled in a week jumping from Rs18 to Rs59.

Similarly, the prices of potatoes registered an increase in eight districts, a decrease in ten regions, and remained stable in 11 districts. The highest increase of Rs46 was recorded in Rahim Yar Khan, and the most prominent drop of Rs30 was reported from Panjgur.

Traders sold wheat flour above the official rates in 24 per cent of the districts. A 20kg bag of wheat flour was priced Rs380 above the official rate in Washuk. Enforcement of wheat prices was the weakest in Punjab and Balochistan. In Punjab 27 per cent of the markets whereas in Balochistan 33 per cent of the markets sold wheat above the officially notified rates.

FAFEN generates the Weekly Price Monitor covering 15 essential kitchen items, including groceries such as wheat, pulses, oil, sugar and perishable commodities like meat and vegetables. FAFEN observers obtain the official prices from district officials or market committees and collect wholesale prices through market surveys. In Punjab’s case, the Qeemat Punjab application is also used to get official rates of commodities.

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