Egypt sees inflation rise

Egypt sees inflation rise

CAIRO: Inflation rates in Egypt increased during the month of March by 0.7 percent from last February and reached 11.8 percent, while experts warned of the continued rise in the coming months, which threatens the “stability and social peace” with growing protests demanding the rise of incomes and salaries to face the burden of living costs.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics explained in a statement on April 10 that the prices of food and drink increased by about 1.2 percent in March, compared to the previous month, as well as the raising of the price of water, electricity and fuel by 1.3 percent, furniture 4 percent, clothing 1.8 percent, education 9.4 percent.

It also said that the prices of meat and poultry, scored the highest increase of some 3.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, fruit and vegetables 1.2 percent, milk, cheese and eggs 0.9 percent, and fish and seafood 0.6 percent.

The rate of annual inflation of the department of food and drink increased to 19.6 percent in March, compared to the corresponding month of 2009, while the annual inflation rate in rural areas was recorded at 17.9 percent and 21.2 percent in urban areas.

With regard to the annual change in some commodity groups, meat and poultry increased by 16.6 percent in March, fish and seafood by 1 percent, milk, cheese and eggs by 56.8 percent, fruits by 29.4 percent and vegetables by 59.9 percent.

Fakhry el-Feki, professor of economics at Cairo University, expected an increase in the rate of inflation during the coming year to around 14 percent as an average, “especially with the improvement of the global economy and recovering from the effects of financial crisis, the increase in commodity prices and global products, which will be reflected in domestic prices, the adoption of Egypt of importing a large part of goods, products and production inputs.”

Feki stressed the need to increase the allocations for subsidies in light of expected increases in prices, to protect the poor, “especially as the increase in inflation increases their proportion.”

He said the government will fail in the coming period “between responding to the demands of increased wages and rising budget deficits and fears of rising inflation.”

He called for increasing the minimum wage based on identifying the needs of the citizens of basic food, housing, medical treatment, “on the basis of a realistic and scientific study that guarantees a good suitable living standard for citizens.”

Nearly half of Egypt’s 80 million people live on less than $2 per day.

Republished with permission from bikya masr