The National Price Monitoring Committee meeting held on 06 January, 2017 in Finance Division under the Chairmanship of Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization. The meeting was attended by the representatives from the Provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhthunkhwa, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Law and Justice, Commerce, National Food Security and Research, Cabinet, Planning Development and Reforms, Inter Provincial Coordination, Statistics Division, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Utility Stores Corporation and Federal Board of Revenue.

The meeting was informed that the headline inflation measured by CPI increased by  3.7% in December 2016 compared to 3.8 percent of previous month and 3.2% of December last year. On average during Jul-Dec FY 2017 it is recorded at 3.88% as compared to 2.08 % in corresponding period last year. On monthly basis the CPI and food inflation remained lowest by -0.7% and -1.9% since February 2015. The CPI is tamed down and in control. The other inflationary indicators have also been contained. The meeting noted continuous decline of SPI since last week of November 2016. It recorded continuous six weekly decline which has brought food inflation to 3.0 percent in December 2016 compared to 3.3 percent of previous month while non food inflation remained at same level of previous month at 4.2 percent, whereas core inflation increased by 5.2 percent compared to 5.3 percent of previous months and SPI and WPI in December 2016 recorded at 0.5 percent and 3.1 percent respectively, compared to 0.6 percent and 2.6 percent of previous month.

The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the week ended on 5th January 2017 decreased by 0.12%. Out of 53 items, Nine (09) items which recorded decrease in their prices are tomatoes 10.20%, Potatoes 5.02%, Chicken 4.63%, Mash Pulse 1.29%, Onions 0.91%, Garlic 0.87%, Moong Pulse 0.57%, Masoor Pulse 0.06% and Red Chilly Powdered 0.05%. The decrease in prices of 09 items brought an impact of 0.26 percent in SPI decline. Sixteen (16) items recorded increase in prices including Sugar 1.64%, Eggs 1.55%, Bananas 1.51%, LPG 1.22%, Rice Irri-6 0.61%, Rice Basmati 0.47%, Mutton 0.38%, Wheat 0.17%, Vegetable Ghee tin 0.13%, Gram Pulse 0.10% and Wheat Flour 0.08%.  The prices of twenty eight (28) items remained stable which shows that there is overall price stability in the country.

The meeting noted the price movement of essential items on month on month and year on year basis. It was observed that prices of wheat, wheat flour, chicken, onion, tomatoes, cooking oil, vegetable ghee, masoor pulse, moong pulse, mash pulse decreased in December 2016 compared to corresponding month of last year. Prices of cooking oil, vegetable ghee loose, vegetable ghee (tin), chicken, banana, tomatoes, rice basmati, rice irri, and mustard oil are much lower than 2013 prices.

The meeting also noted the increasing trend in prices of eggs, garlic, milk powder (NIDO), beef, mutton, gram pulse.The Minister expressed concerns of increasing trend of these food commodities and directed the Ministry of National Food and Security and Competition Commission of Pakistan to closely monitor the situation, control the undeclared monopoly, take corrective measures and arrest any cartelization, particularly in milk and meat products as well as mitigate any expected rise in prices of pulses. For gram pulse he directed Ministry of National Food and Security and USC to carry out inter ministerial consultations with all stakeholders in order to address any abnormal spike in prices. He further expressed concern about the slight increase in the prices of sugar and directed Ministry of Commerce to vigilantly monitor the prices and if there is any erratic movement, take appropriate remedial action. With regard to prices of beef and mutton, he directed the Ministry of National Food and Security to take on board all stakeholders and take corrective measures to curb smuggling. He advised provincial governments to be more vigilant to control prices.

The meeting also reviewed the essential item’s prices in sasta bazaars and open markets and noted that the prices are significantly lower in sasta bazaars as compared to open markets. The Minister urged that the people should benefit from these bazaars.

The meeting also noted the change in prices of selected essential kitchen items in low and combined income group during current week ending on 5th January 2017 compared to previous week and corresponding week of the previous year. The meeting noted that in low and combined income group the price index declined by 0.29 and 0.24 basis points respectively.

The meeting also reviewed the regional price comparison of essential commodities among Islamabad, New Delhi and Dhaka and observed that the prices of Nine (09) items include wheat, wheat flour, chicken farm, petrol, diesel, rice basmati, sugar, mash pulse and beef are lowest in Pakistan as compared to New Delhi and Dhaka and second lowest in nine (09) items which include onions, masoor pulse, moong pulse, eggs, gram pulse, vegetable ghee, milk fresh, red chillies and tomatoes.

The meeting noted that the prices among the provinces are stable.