Pre-Ramazan prices.

WITH Ramazan round the corner, the mercenary and cynical characteristics that can often motivate traders' dealings with their supply chain and their customers have not failed to rear their ugly head. As reported by this newspaper on Saturday, the prices of several essential food commodities have gone up, particularly sugar, the price of which in the country's biggest wholesale commodities market located in Karachi has risen from Rs65 per kilo to a new retail peak of Rs70. The price of sugar stood at Rs55 per kilo at the beginning of the year, rose to Rs58-60 per kilo in February, while in March it was being sold at Rs63 in retail markets.

Of course, it is not only the price of sugar that is of concern. Vegetable, fruit, dairy products and pulses have also seen a rise in rates. In fact, in one week alone, staples such as onions and potatoes witnessed a rise of 8.35pc and 4.71pc respectively. If this is the situation before the advent of Ramazan one can only imagine the price pressure on poor families when the holy month gets under way and the...

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