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ISLAMABAD: Following a reduction in petrol and high-speed diesel prices and Pakistan rupee’s appreciation over the past one month, the prices of essential kitchen items have witnessed a further 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 Rs 7,300 to Rs 7,200, which in retail is being sold at Rs160 per kg against Rs170 per kg. Since June 2023, wholesale sugar price witnessed an increase of Rs 4,000 per bag as it gradually went up from Rs 5,000 per 50kg bag to Rs 9,000, but following a crackdown against hoarders on September 7, 2023, the sweetener prices started declining upto October 1, 2023 as it reduced from Rs 9,000 per bag to Rs 7,000. The trend shows that sugar industry is still profiteering at Rs 2,200 per 50kg bag or Rs44 per kg in the wholesale market, while in retail its price has witnessed an increase of Rs46 per kg.

Chicken price went further down from Rs 13,200 to Rs 12,200 per 40kg in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold at Rs325 against Rs350 per kg, while chicken meat is being sold at Rs520 per kg against Rs560 per kg. Egg price went up from Rs 9,100 to Rs 9,200 per carton, while in retail, eggs are being sold at Rs320 per dozen against Rs315 per dozen.

Wheat flour price remained stable as the price of best quality wheat flour is available at Rs 2,060, which in retail is being sold at Rs 2,100 per bag, normal quality wheat flour bag price at Rs 2,020 per 15kg bag in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold at Rs 2,050 per bag.

Tea prices remained stable as Lipton Yellow Label is available at Rs 2,050 per 900 gram pack and Islamabad tea is available at Rs 1,600; powdered chilli price remained stable at Rs700 per kg, and turmeric powder price went down from Rs700 per kg to Rs600 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 Rs 4,150, while in the market it is available at Rs 5,000 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 an overall reduction as best quality basmati rice price went down from Rs 13,200 to Rs 12,000 per 40 kg, while the retailers are selling at Rs320 per against Rs350 per kg, normal quality Basmati rice at Rs 10,000 per 40kg against Rs 10,500 per bag, which in retail is being sold at Rs270 per kg against Rs300 per kg, and broken Basmati rice price went down from Rs 9,500 to Rs 8,000, which in retail is being sold at Rs200 per kg.

Ghee-cooking oil prices also witnessed a reduction as B-grade ghee-cooking oil price went down from Rs 4,800 to Rs 4,400 per carton in the wholesale market which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs320-330 per pack against Rs365-380. While best quality cooking oil-ghee brands such as Dalda ghee price went down from Rs 2,790 to Rs 2,660 per 5kg tin and cooking oil from Rs 2,850 to Rs 2,780 per 5-litre bottle.

Pulses prices also witnessed a declining trend as best quality maash price went down from Rs620 per kg to Rs530 per kg, gram pulse from Rs320 to Rs260 per kg, whole gram pulse from Rs440 per kg to Rs370 per kg, various varieties of bean lentils are available in the range of Rs400-450 per kg against Rs450-500 per kg, moong price went down from Rs320 per kg to Rs250 per kg, and masoor from Rs320 per kg to Rs270 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 Rs6,000 to Rs4,500 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs1,000-1,050 per kg against Rs1,350-1,400 per kg, local garlic price is stable at 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 is stable at Rs1,800 per 5kg in the wholesale market, which in retail is available in the range of Rs500-550.

Potato price remained stable as it is available at Rs400-450 per 5kg in wholesale market, which in retail are being sold at Rs90-110 per kg, tomato prices went down from Rs 1,100 per basket of 13kg to Rs950 in the wholesale market, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs80-100 per kg against Rs100-120 per kg and onions price remained stable at Rs400-450, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs100-120 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 remained stable at Rs400-500 per 5kg, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs110-160 per kg, brinjal price went down from Rs650 to Rs600, which in retail are being sold at Rs145-155 against Rs160-180 per kg, cauliflower price went up from Rs430-480 per 5kg to Rs500-550 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs120-140 per kg against Rs100-120 per kg, and cabbage price is stable at Rs375 per 5kg which in retail is being sold at Rs90-110 per kg. Bitter gourd price is stable at Rs430-470 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs110-130 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 went down Rs750 to Rs600 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs135-150 per kg. Okra price went up from Rs250 per 5kg to Rs450 per 5kg which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs115-120 per kg against Rs75-85 per kg, turnip price is stable at Rs430-450 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs100-120, yam price is stable at Rs500 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs120-130 per kg.

Bananas’ price remained stable in the range of Rs80-145 per dozen as the best quality bananas are available at Rs145 per dozen and normal quality bananas in the range of Rs75-100 per dozen to Rs80-125, best quality guava is available at Rs150 per kg against Rs180 per kg and normal in the range of Rs90-110 per kg against Rs110-120 per kg, Gaja apples are available in the range of Rs190-270 per kg, new arrival pomegranate are available in the range of Rs220-260 per kg, 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.

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 reduction in prices of essential kitchen items can be attributed to the a declining trend in fuel prices and Pakistan rupee’s appreciation against dollar, adding that in case the Pakistan rupee further strengthens and fuel prices further decline the prices of all the household items will further reduce.

According to traders, over the past few years continued increase in fuel costs and utilities’ costs significantly contributed in increasing the prices. They attributed around 20 per cent increase in the prices of all the items to increase in gas and electricity bills, traders are also forced to move up their margins to meet ever increasing expenditure from salaries to transportation costs and other miscellaneous expenses.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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