KARACHI: As wholesale prices of pulses, rice and sugar have touched a new peak, consumers may witness another price-hike if government further increases petroleum prices on March 1.
The prices may get another push, especially of rice, sugar and pulses, as these mainly arrive from Sindh and Punjab after paying heavy transportation charges.
Wholesale price of gram pulse which hit Rs84 per kg on Feb 21, has gone up to Rs90 per kg. Black gram rate surged to Rs75 from Rs65. Moong price now costs Rs130 as compared to Rs120 on Feb 21. Moong was priced at Rs110 per kg 10 days back. Masur is now trading at Rs65 and 75 per kg in wholesale market as compared to Rs55 and 65.
Basmati super Saila price has increased to Rs84-90 per kg from Rs78-82 while wholesale price of Basmati 386 has reached Rs50-52 from Rs48, said a wholesaler.
Wholesale price of sugar was Rs48 per kg ahead of Eid Miladun Nabi and after crawling down frequently, it plunged to Rs45.50 per kg by Feb 21. After rising demand, the wholesale rate of sugar has risen to Rs49 to Rs49.50 per kg. He said only 50 per cent of the impact of petroleum price-hike made on Feb 1, coupled with rupee devaluation against the dollar, had been passed on to consumers.
But traders fear that reports about possible increase in petroleum prices from March 1 would further fuel food inflation in the country owing to rising transportation charges.
The wholesaler said sugar is not being imported. So there is no direct impact of rupee-dollar parity on its prices.
He did not agree that price hike in rice and sugar was because of reports that Iran would import 200,000 tons of rice and also expected to import sugar under a barter trade deal.
He claimed that retailers and other buyers had actually returned to Dandia Bazaar where trading had remained laggard for the last one- and-a-half months.