Food Prices in Pakistan Are World's Second Lowest Despite Inflation

The cost of living in Pakistan is the world's lowest despite recent inflationary trends, according to the Cost of Living Index for mid-2021 as published by Numbeo.  Numbeo Grocery Index reports that the food prices in Pakistan are the second cheapest in the world. In terms of local purchasing power, Pakistan ranks 101 among 139 nations. 

Cost of Living Map. Source: Numbeo

For overall cost of living as measured by Numbeo, Pakistan ranks 139 among 139 countries of the world. It is cheaper to live in Pakistan than to live in any of its neighboring countries in South Asia or West Asia. India ranks 138, Afghanistan 136, Bangladesh 115 and Iran 87. 

Local Purchasing Power (LPP) is a measure of relative purchasing power in buying goods and services in a given city for the average net salary in that city. If domestic purchasing power is 40, this means that the inhabitants of that city with an average salary can afford to buy on an average 60% fewer goods and services than New York City residents with an average salary.  Pakistan (LPP of 24.56) ranks 101 among 139 countries for Local Purchasing Power. India (42.16) ranks 52, Bangladesh (21.76) 111, Afghanistan (20.53) 112 and Iran (16.82) 124. Switzerland (102.77), the United States (94.32) and Australia (91.07) top the list in terms of local purchasing power. 

Cost of Living Rankings. Source: Numbeo

For food prices, Pakistan ranks 138 among 139 countries ranked. Only Afghanistan ranks below Pakistan at 139 on Numbeo Groceries Index. India ranks 129 and Bangladesh 112. 

Monthly Cost of Food Per Person in Pakistan. Source: Numbeo

Using a basket of Asian food types, the cost of feeding one person in Pakistan with a healthy, balanced diet of 2400 daily calories works out to Rs. 10,364.55 for a month, much lower than Rs. 13,635.77 (INR 6201.40) in India. It consists of bread, rice, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables.  The most expensive components of the food baskets are chicken and beef. Reducing the amount of meat can help bring the cost of the meal further down.  At Rs. 15,248.41 per month, the cost of western food basket is about 50% higher but still significantly lower than Rs. 19,233.35 (INR 8747.13) in India.   

Pakistan is among world's top 10 food producing countries. After a wheat and sugarcane shortfall last year, there are reports of record production of wheat and corn in Pakistan this year. Higher domestic production will hopefully help contain food price inflation in coming months. 

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