Manufacturers jack up prices


KARACHI: Manufacturers have raised prices of washing powder, soaps and biscuits from Sept 1 after an increase by Rs2.50 per litre in diesel prices by the PML-N government. Consumers would have to swallow more bitter pills and pay high prices of various commodities after the third increase in diesel prices by the present government. Retailers said that biscuit manufacturers have increased prices by Re1 to Rs2 depending on the packet size and weight.  They said leading manufacturers, mostly multinationals, have pushed up prices of washing powder by Rs5 to 10 in half and one kg packs, followed by jump of Rs2 to Rs3 in soap prices.

Retailers said various factors, like persistent devaluation of rupee against the dollar which was raising import cost of raw material, one and two per cent hike in GST on registered and non-registered retailers and rising transportation charges due to diesel price hike, have led to flare up in prices.

Since Nawaz Sharif came to power, consumers received three straight jerks in diesel prices.

On June 1, diesel price was raised by Rs2 per litre while Rs3 and Rs2.50 on Aug 1 and Sept 1.

Country’s August CPI (Consumer Price Index) spiked to 11-months high of 8.55pc versus 8.26pc in July.

Analysts believe that CPI inflation may range between nine to 10pc in FY14 due to increase in utility charges, coupled with fear of more devaluation and increase in petroleum prices.

Karachi Retail Grocers Group General Secretary Farid Qureishi said that tooth paste and shampoo have become costlier while infant milk prices have also been raised.

He feared more price shocks from manufacturers following more loss in rupee value against the dollar, coupled with recent hike in diesel price. He, however, said that retailers would also charge more in lose commodities in view of rising transportation cost.

He said many people have already limited their bulk purchases due to burgeoning food prices and high cost of living.

Karachi Wholesalers’ Grocers Association Chairman Anis Majeed said that Rs2.50 per litre increase made a straight effect of Re1 to Rs1.50 per kg in wholesale prices of wheat, rice, pulses, flour and this was going to further multiply when retailers would pay transportation cost for bringing commodities to their godowns or shops from wholesale markets.

He said US Dollar in inter-bank market is now Rs105 as compared to Rs99.50 in June, 2013, and this had already caused price jump of Rs3 to 4 per kg in various imported commodities due to costlier imports.

“PML-N government has assured masses of bringing down food inflation. The new government has disappointed and its promises are now proving sheer humiliation to consumers and business community,” he said.

He said hike in petroleum prices and rupee devaluation are nullifying the impact of falling prices of commodities in global markets while it would prove more devastating for those items whose prices are crawling up in world markets.

Anis urged the government to make serious efforts in curbing food inflation as consumers are highly worried over increasing cost of living.