ISLAMABAD - The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Friday observed that price trend in international market is on declining trend which will augur well for the domestic prices in near future.

The NPMC meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Finance Secretary to discuss the price trend of essential food items. The meeting was informed that CPI inflation year on year is recorded at 8.2 per cent in May 2020 over May 2019 and July-May CPI inflation on average reached to 10.9 per cent. It was noted that inflation is on continuously declining trend since January 2020, due to policy, administrative and relief measures of the Federal and provincial governments.

The government in budget had projected that inflation is expected to remain in single digit at 6.5 per cent. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its recent report has stated that inflation projections for Pakistan in 2020 and 2021 are revised down from ADO 2020 in line with sharply contracting demand. Inflation rate has estimated to reduce to 8 percent in next fiscal year from 11 per cent of the ongoing financial year. Meanwhile, the NPCC has noted that government is proactively taking measures to control the general price level of daily use items at Federal, provincial and district levels.

The Chair informed that the recent Cabinet meeting took notice of the price hike in poultry sector. The Chair discussed the matter in details with all stakeholders and examined the demand and supply dynamics of poultry products and directed provincial governments and ICT administration to take strict actions where undue price hike is being made and urged to take comprehensive measures  for smooth supply of poultry products. The provincial representative and ICT administration ensured that they will take all possible measures to improve the situation and the prices will tame in coming days.

The Chair also directed the CCP to share their findings in poultry sector with provincial government and ICT to streamline the recent spike in the prices of poultry sector and play proactive role to control the spike in prices.  NPMC also directed the Ministry of National Food Security to make necessary coordination and consultation with provincial governments in a more vigilant way on the prices of wheat & wheat flour and take immediate measures to ensure smooth supply. The Chair advised that all relevant authorities along with provincial governments should monitor the provision of essential food items at affordable prices and remove the price disparity and keep an eye on undue profit margin as in some cases higher profit margin was also observed. The provincial governments and ICT administration ensured that they will take strict measures to minimize undue profit margin.

Whereas, The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) based weekly inflation for the week ended on June 18, for the combined consumption group, witnessed increase of 1.02 per cent, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported Friday. The SPI for the week under review in the above mentioned group was recorded at 129.16 points against 127.85 points registered in the previous week, the data release by SBP revealed.

The weekly SPI with base year 2015-16=100 is covering 17 urban centres and 51 essential items for all expenditure groups.  The Sensitive Price Indicator for the lowest consumption group up to Rs17,732, increased by 0.07 per cent and went up from 134.77 points in last week to 136.51 points during the week under review. As compared to the corresponding week of last year, the SPI for the combined consumption group in the week under review witnessed an increase of 9.89 per cent, while, for the lowest consumption group, it increased by 1.29 per cent.

The SPI for consumption groups from Rs17,733-22,888; Rs.22,889-29,517; Rs 29,518-44,175 and above Rs44,175 per month increased by 1.28 per cent, 1.19 per cent, 1.14 per cent and 0.87 respectively. During the week, prices of 7items decreased, 22 items increased while that of 22 items remained stable.

The items, which recorded decrease in their average prices included bananas, garlic, moong pulse, masoor pulse, gram pulse, mash pulse and sugar. The commodities, which recorded increase in their average prices included tomatoes, chillies, wheat flour, eggs, potatoes, lawn, long cloth, chicken, georgette, shirting, tea (prepared), onion, rice (Irri6/9), rice (Basmati broken), milk (fresh), curd, mustard oil, LPG Cylinder, milk (powdered), beef, mutton and gur. Similarly, the prices of the commodities that observed no change in their price during the week under review included bread, cooking oil (loose) vegetable ghee (tin), vegetable ghee (loose), salt, tea (prepared), cooked beef, cigarettes, gents sandal, gents chappal, ladies sandal, electricity charges, gas charges, firewood, energy saver, washing soap, match box, petrol, diesel, telephone call and toilet soap.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the provincial governments, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Interior, Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, National Food Security & Research, Federal Board of Revenue, Competition Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.