The government’s efforts to combat sugar hoarding/speculation and the arrival of three cargo vessels of imported wheat have begun to bear fruit with a reduction in grain, flour prices, and sugar prices, offering much-needed relief to consumers.
A ship carrying 37,000 tons of Bulgarian wheat is poised to commence the unloading process within the next few days, while the remaining two vessels hauling 55,000 and 53,602 tons, respectively, of Russian wheat, have anchored at the outer limits of the port, awaiting offloading procedures.
Muzammil Chappal, Chairman of the Cereal Association of Pakistan, stated that the imported wheat is averaging around Rs. 101-102 per kilogram and this price reduction is anticipated to alleviate the financial burden on consumers grappling with soaring food costs. He called for increasing wheat imports to exert pressure on market manipulators and deter stockpiling of this essential commodity.
A private-sector group has so far successfully negotiated an import agreement for 700,000 tons of wheat. In the current economic context, characterized by the resurgence of the Pakistani Rupee, stakeholders are likely to open letters of credit. This tendency should lead to lower landing costs for imported goods.
Meanwhile, over the past week, the retail prices of fine flour and flour no. 2.5 have experienced a notable decline, plummeting by Rs. 10 per kilogram. Aamir Abdullah, Chairman of the Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA), confirmed that the open market wheat price dropped from Rs. 120-123 to Rs. 118 per kilogram with the arrival of imported grain. Retailers are now offering discounts on various flour varieties, with flour no. 2.5 and fine flour priced at Rs. 136-137 per kilogram.
On a related note, Faisal Anis Majeed, a prominent wholesaler and importer, reported that the sustained crackdown on hoarding and speculation has contributed to a significant drop in wholesale sugar prices. These rates have fallen from Rs. 185 per kilogram to Rs. 145 per kilogram in the span of the last 10 days.
However, the relief in wholesale prices has not been fully mirrored in the retail market, where sugar prices continue to hover between Rs. 160-170 per kilogram. This is a notable improvement from the peak prices of Rs. 180-190 per kilogram witnessed recently.