Living costs have surged in just the first two days of the interim government, particularly with sugar and steel bar prices. Factors like transportation costs (owing to a Rs20 rise in diesel rate), the rupee’s depreciation against the dollar, and hoarding contribute to this.
As per dealers, sugar prices jumped from Rs150-155 per kg to Rs160, with online stores charging Rs170. Rauf Ibrahim of KWGA remarked on the situation, saying it started on a “disastrous note” and criticized the government’s inaction towards hoarders. He asserted that sugar prices could drop below Rs100 per kg if the government acted against hoarders.
Impact on Industries and Call for Government Intervention
As sugar prices soar, industries using sugar as a primary raw material face dire circumstances. Javed Sarwana, VP of the Pakistan Biscuit and Confectionery Manufacturers’ Association termed the situation alarming, urging the government to stop market manipulations and exploitation of consumers.
The price of steel bars also saw a spike, with an increase of Rs10,000 per tonne. Industry insiders attribute this to rising energy costs and rupee-dollar volatility. They emphasize that the industry can’t endure these price fluctuations.
Economic Implications and Shutdowns
The rupee’s value fell by Rs7 against the dollar during the interim government’s initial days, amplifying import costs. On the other hand, FY23 saw a decline in the average price of iron and steel scrap.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Wheels Limited announced a production halt due to reduced sales orders from August 18 to 31.