Dollar shortage may push the retail price of onion and other items even higher in Pakistan as over 400 containers carrying imported products are currently stuck at Port Qasim.

These containers – 250 of onion, 104 of garlic and 63 of ginger with a total value of around 5.5 million – are not be unloaded as commercial banks are unable to arrange dollars  

Currently, the wholesale and retail prices of onion is around Rs175 per kg and Rs250 to Rs270 per kg respectively.

It is feared that the prices of food items will increase in the local market if importers are not able to get their clearance.

Alarming inflation

In November, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 23.8 percent when compared with the same month last year.

On the other hand, the average CPI in the first five months of the current fiscal year was 25.14 percent compared to 9.32 percent during the same period last year.

However, the latest figures, or any numbers for that to say, released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) do not matter for the people in Pakistan as they are feeling the heat in daily life amid reduced purchasing power, depreciating rupee and rising prices, especially the  

Moreover, the figures do not tell the real story of the low-income groups who are much more affected by even the slightest hike in prices.

The 23.8 percent increase in CPI for November on year-on-year (YoY) basis is, however, 2.8 percent less than the previous month (October) which was 26.6 percent.

As far as the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) is concerned, it increased jumped to 27.1 percent in November as compared to an increase of 24.0 percent a month earlier and of 18.1 percent in November 2021.

Meanwhile, it increased by 6.1 percent as compared to a decrease of 1.5 percent in October and an increase of 3.6 percent in November 2021.

The National Consumer Price Index for November 2022 increased to 0.76 percent over October and to 23.84 percent over the corresponding month of the last year.

According to the PBS, the CPI in urban areas increased to 21.6 percent on year-on-year basis in November as compared to an increase of 24.6 percent in the previous month and 12.0 percent in the correspondent month last year.

On a month-on-month basis, the CPI in urban population increased to 0.4 percent in November and to 2.9 percent when compared with the corresponding month of the last year.

Poultry crisis

On Monday, the representatives of Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) told a press conference in Karachi that the crisis triggered by soybean’s acute shortage in the market was daily causing a national loss of two to three million and pushing up the prices of poultry products across the country.

“We appeal to the government to direct immediate release of the soybean containers stuck at Port Qasim for over two weeks. The ill-advised step is causing a loss of animals and businesses across the country as well as forcing citizens to buy poultry products at higher rates.”

The customs authorities, he pointed out, had prevented the importers to off-load their consignments on the ground that the imported pulse was genetically modified seeds and it would be used for plant cultivation.

“This is absurd. The specific pulse, a key component of poultry and livestock feed, is used for crushing purposes and not cultivation. We have been importing this genetically-modified (GM) seed for over two decades and have never faced this kind of trouble,” they said, adding that the government authorities had refused to listen to the reason.

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