Syed Nasir Hossain : Pakistan has the highest food inflation in the South Asian region. Bangladesh is in the next position. Like Bangladesh, India and Bhutan also experienced an increase in food price inflation towards the end of last year. In the rest of the countries, food inflation is on the decline.
This information was obtained from the World Bank’s Food Security Update Report published this month. It shows that in the last month of December 2023, the price inflation of food products in Pakistan was 27.5 percent. In Bangladesh this rate was 9.6 percent. And in India 8.7 percent.
Bhutan and Maldives have the fourth highest food inflation in South Asia. Until the time of preparation of the report of the World Bank, the inflation calculations for the month of December of the two countries have not been published. Food price inflation in both the countries was 5.3 percent in November.
Last December, food price inflation was 5.1 percent in Nepal and 0.3 percent in Sri Lanka. An exception in this case has been seen in Afghanistan. As of last November, food price inflation in the country did not occur, but prices contracted by 14 percent. That is, compared to the same period of the previous year, the price of food products has decreased by 14 percent.
According to the analysis of statistics given in the World Bank report, there was an upward trend in food price inflation at the end of last year in Bangladesh, India and Bhutan. Food price inflation in Bangladesh was 7.8 percent in January last year. It increased a lot towards the end of the year. In India last year in January this rate was 6.2 percent. By the end of the year, it had touched about 9 percent. Bhutan had one and a half percent in January. More than 5 percent in December.
Sri Lanka has shown success in reducing inflation. Food inflation, which was 53.5 percent in the first month of last year, came down to close to zero percent by the end of the year. Pakistan is also less than before. Food inflation there was around 43 percent in the first month of last year. In the last month of the year that fell below 28 percent.
Although the price of food products has decreased in Afghanistan, the World Bank’s report has expressed concern about the country’s food security. It said about 1.3 million people in the country need urgent food security assistance due to drought and employment problems of the past few years.
According to the report of the World Bank, the prices of agricultural products and food grains have decreased by 2 percent and 4 percent in the last month of December compared to the previous month. Among them, the price of corn has decreased by 8 percent and the price of wheat by 6 percent. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the prices of these products have decreased more.
It is said that the price of food products around the world may decrease a little more this year. But there are some risks. For example – geopolitical instability including war situation in the Middle East, rising interest rates etc.
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