Consumers received on Tuesday another shock with fresh increase in ghee/cooking oil and tea prices.
General Secretary Karachi Retail Grocers Group (KRGG), Farid Quresihi said that the maker of Dalda ghee had jacked up the rate of one-kg pack to Rs975 from Rs942. In November 2010 it was Rs835. The 2.5 kg tin will now cost Rs495 as compared to Rs478.
The five-kg ghee pack (comprising five pouches of one-kg) will be available at Rs965 as compared to Rs931 which means that one kg pouch will cost Rs195 as compared to Rs187.
He said the 16-kg ghee tin was now selling at Rs2,630 against Rs2,540 on January 1.
He said the 950-gram pack of Lipton Yellow Label had been raised to Rs590 from Rs540 while 450-gram pack will be available at Rs295 as compared to Rs272.
Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA) Chairman Shaikh Mohammad Ikram said in Punjab the 16-kg ghee tin was selling at Rs2,600-Rs2,650. On January 1, it was available at Rs2,550, while it was Rs2,400-2,450 earlier in December 2010.
He attributed the hike in local ghee/cooking oil prices to palm oil rates which surged to $1,340 per ton from $1,300 last month. He said the palm oil rate swelled to Rs5,500 per 37 kg in the domestic market as compared to Rs5,100 some 15 days back.
He said local rates would remain under pressure due to rising prices of palm oil and soyabean oil on the world markets.
He said around 200,000 tons of ghee and cooking oil were produced monthly in which ghee holds 70pc share. Of ghee and cooking oil sale, the share of one kg/litre pouch is 70pc.
Palm oil imports during July-December 2010 stood higher at 1,047,380 tons ($928 million) as compared to 802,616 tons ($578 million) in the same period of 2009. Soyabean oil imports also went up to 34,197 tons ($35 million) in July-December 2010 as compared to 3,252 tons ($4.6 million) in the corresponding period of 2009.
The increase in tea price looks surprising as the rate in Kenya has dropped by 25 to 50 cents a kg depending on the quality in the last two weeks in the wake of uprising in Egypt.
A importer said that at Mombasa Tea Auction in Kenya on Monday the rate had slightly improved by 25 cents a kg. He added that Egypt was the third main buyer of tea from Kenya.
Giving details of Mombasa Tea Auction, the importer said that Egypt packers were operating selectively at discounted rates compared to last auction, while Pakistani packers were selective at easier levels.
According to Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS), Pakistan`s tea imports in July-December 2010 rose to 55,263 tons ($158 million) as compared to 44,670 tons ($122 million) in the same period of 2009.
The average price of Kenyan tea had risen to $3.25 per kg in 2010 as compared to $2.65 per kg in 2009.
Annual tea consumption in Pakistan ranges between 180,000-190,000 tons and the share of smuggled tea through Afghan Transit Trade is over 50 per cent while the rest arrives through legal channels.