Rising Energy Costs Compound Economic Burden on Consumers


The cost of living has surged notably, driven by increasing utility bills and transportation expenses, exacerbating economic challenges for consumers. A mixed trend in food prices during the last Ramazan has contributed to this heightened financial strain.

Data from the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) reveals significant changes in food prices. For instance, the average national price of a 20kg flour bag has risen to Rs2,500-2,960 from Rs1,295-3,000 compared to the same period in 2023. Similarly, prices of wheat and fine flour have increased despite efforts by flour millers to stabilize rates after substantial wheat imports.

While the government and private sector imported significant quantities of wheat, reaching 1.980 million tonnes, food prices continue to escalate. Prices of essential items like onions, potatoes, cooking oil, and ghee have also witnessed notable increases, adding to consumers’ financial burden.

Moreover, meat prices, particularly beef and mutton, have surged, attributed partly to increased exports. The rise in meat and meat preparation exports has further strained domestic meat supplies, contributing to higher prices.

The escalating costs extend beyond food items to include utilities and transportation. Gas charges have increased significantly, with prices rising from Rs295 to Rs1,976 for up to 3.3719 mmBtu. Additionally, petrol and diesel rates have risen, further burdening consumers.

The surge in rice exports, particularly basmati and non-basmati varieties, has also impacted domestic prices. Despite a bullish rupee and lower world prices, the national average price of branded tea packs remains unchanged.

In conclusion, consumers are grappling with a myriad of challenges as energy costs continue to rise, further exacerbating economic pressures.

Story by Aamir Shafaat Khan

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