ISLAMABAD: The prices of essential kitchen items have witnessed a reduction during this week past against the previous week, revealed a survey carried out by Business Recorder, here on Saturday.

The survey observed a slight reduction in sugar price which went down from Rs7,500 to Rs7,300, which in retail is being sold at Rs170 per kg. Since June 2023, wholesale sugar price witnessed an increase of Rs4,000 per bag as it gradually went up from Rs5,000 per 50kg bag to Rs9,000, but following a crackdown against hoarders on September 7, 2023, the sweetener prices started declining up to October 1, 2023 as it reduced from Rs9,000 per bag to Rs7,000. The trend shows that sugar industry is still profiteering at Rs2,300 per 50kg bag or Rs46 per kg in the wholesale market, while in retail its price has witnessed an increase of Rs56 per kg.

Chicken price went down from Rs14,000 to Rs13,200 per 40kg in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold at Rs350 against Rs375 per kg, while chicken meat is being sold at Rs560 per kg against Rs660 per kg, egg price went up from Rs8,180 to Rs9,100 per carton, while in retail, eggs are being sold at Rs315 per dozen against Rs305 per dozen.

Wheat flour price slightly went down as the price of best quality wheat flour went down from Rs2,100 per 15kg bag to Rs2,060, which in retail is being sold at Rs2,100 per bag against Rs2,150 per bag, normal quality wheat flour bag price went down from R2,050 to Rs2,020 per 15kg bag in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold at Rs2,050 per bag.

Tea prices remained stable as Lipton Yellow Label is available at Rs2,050 per 900 gram pack and Islamabad tea is available at Rs1,600; powdered chilli price remained stable at Rs700 per kg, and turmeric powder price at Rs700 per kg.

The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) price remained unchanged, as officially it is available at Rs270 per kg, however, LPG distributors and traders are selling the commodity at their own set price in violation of the OGRA’s set price of Rs270 per kg as the distributors and retailers are selling the commodity in the range of Rs300-330 per kg. The OGRA has set 15kg domestic cylinder LPG price at Rs4,150, while in the market it is available at Rs5,000 per 15kg cylinder, reflecting an overcharging of Rs850 per cylinder.

Branded spices such as National, Shan, and others’ prices remained unchanged at Rs120 per pack. Prepared tea cup at a normal tea stall is available at Rs70 per cup, the price of a cooked daal plate at a normal hotel is Rs250, cooked vegetable plate at Rs250, while roti price remained stable at Rs20 per roti, and naan at Rs30.

Rice prices witnessed no changes as best quality basmati rice is available at Rs13,200, while the retailers are selling at Rs350 per kg, normal quality Basmati rice at Rs10,500 per bag, which in retail is being sold at Rs300 per kg, and broken Basmati rice price is stable at Rs9,500, which in retail is being sold at Rs230 per kg.

Ghee-cooking oil prices witnessed a mixed trend as B-grade ghee-cooking oil price went down from Rs5,000 to Rs4,800 per carton in the wholesale market which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs365-380. While best quality cooking oil-ghee brands such as Dalda ghee is available at Rs2,790 and cooking oil at Rs2,850 per 5-litre bottle.

Pulses prices witnessed no changes as best quality maash is available at Rs620 per kg, gram pulse at Rs320 per kg, whole gram pulse is being sold at Rs440 per kg, various varieties of bean lentils are available in the range Rs450-500 per kg, moong price remained stable at Rs320 per kg, and masoor at Rs320 per kg.

Packed milk prices remained unchanged as small Milk Pak and other brands are being sold at Rs70 per pack, while one litre pack is available at Rs260 per pack. Fresh milk prices are stable at Rs200 per kg and yoghurt at Rs220 per kg.

Detergents’ prices and bathing soaps prices witnessed no changes as Safeguard, Lux, and Dettol’s normal size bathing soap are available at Rs145 per pack and family pack at Rs170 per pack.

Overall, vegetables prices witnessed a declining trend. Ginger price in the wholesale market went down from Rs6,500 to Rs6,000 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs1,350-1,400 per kg against Rs1,450-1,500 per kg, local garlic price went down from Rs1,800 to Rs1,650 per 5kg in the wholesale market which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs400-450 per kg, and Quetta garlic price went down from Rs2,100 to Rs1,800 per 5kg in the wholesale market, which in retail is available in the range of Rs500-550 against Rs550-600 per kg.

Potato price went down from Rs450-500 per 5kg in wholesale to Rs400-450 per 5kg, which in retail are being sold at Rs90-110 per kg against Rs110-130 per kg, tomato prices went down from Rs1,300 per basket of 13kg to Rs1,100 in the wholesale market, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs100-120 per kg against Rs115-140 per kg and onions price went down from Rs500-550 per 5kg to Rs400-450, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs100-120 against Rs110-150 per kg.

Capsicum price is stable at Rs1,000 in wholesale market which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs220-250 per kg, the prices of various varieties of pumpkin went down from Rs550-700 per 5kg Rs400-500, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs110-160 per kg against Rs140-200 per kg, brinjal price is stable at Rs650, which in retail are being sold at Rs160-180 per kg, cauliflower price went down from Rs500-550 per 5kg to Rs430-480 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs100-120 per kg against Rs130-150 per kg, and cabbage price went down from Rs450 to Rs375 per 5kg which in retail is being sold at Rs90-110 per kg against Rs110-120 per kg. Bitter gourd price went down from Rs600-650 per 5kg to Rs430-470 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs110-130 per kg against Rs150-170 per kg and cucumber price is stable at Rs400 which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs95-110 per kg, tinda price is stable at Rs750 which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs160-190. Okra price went down from Rs500 per 5kg to Rs250 per 5kg which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs75-85 per kg against Rs125-140 per kg, turnip price went down from Rs500-550 per 5kg to Rs430-450 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs100-120 against Rs130-150 per kg, yam price went down from Rs600 per 5kg to Rs500 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs120-130 per kg against Rs135-150 per kg.

Best quality bananas price went down from Rs160 to Rs145 per dozen and normal quality bananas are available from Rs75-100 per dozen to Rs80-125 a dozen, best quality guava is available at Rs180 per kg against Rs170 per kg and normal in the range of Rs110-130 per kg against Rs100-120 per kg, Gaja apples are available in the range of Rs190-270 per kg against Rs170-250, different varieties of mangoes are available in the range of Rs250-350 per kg, dosheri mango at Rs250 per kg is the cheapest and nawabi chunsa at Rs350 per kg is the most expensive, and peach is available at Rs190-350 per kg against Rs225-400 per kg, various varieties of grapes are available in the range of Rs160-330 per kg against Rs200-400 per kg.

However, the survey observed that due to ineffective monitoring by the special price control magistrates and other relevant departments including assistant commissioners and deputy commissioners, the retailers are free to charge their own prices of not only vegetables and fruits but of other items too.

Moreover, there is a serious difference between the official prices of various items and market prices. It is also observed retailers, vendors, and other sellers are not displaying official price list of household items at an appropriate place and are not even providing on demand.

Traders told this correspondent that the current wave of increase in prices of essential kitchen items can be attributed to the increase in fuel prices and flash floods triggered by monsoon rains which caused serious damage to various vegetable crops.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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