Rising food costs in Egypt as inflation lowers

Rising food costs in Egypt as inflation lowers

Egypt’s Agency for Mobilization and Statistics reported this week that the cost of a number of food items in the country continues to rise even as inflation decreases across the board. According to August’s numbers, the inflation rate dropped to 8.4 percent from 9.7 percent in July, but a number of food commodities rose in price from between 8 percent and 35 percent during the same period.

This comes as Egyptians settled into a Ramadan routine, where fasting occurs from sunrise to sundown. Many observers argue that much of the reason for the extra costs has to do with the holy month.

The agency argued in the statement that the decline in inflation was driven by the overall decrease in food price average increases from 12.4 percent to 11.6 percent.
Abu Bakr el-Gendi, Chairman of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, said that the rate of increase in prices of the major groups of food and drinks during August compared to the same month last year, was a 14 percent increase for meat and 35.2 percent for fruit and vegetables at 29.9 percent, 8.3 percent for milk, cheese and eggs, some 9.5 percent for fish and seafood and 8.3 percent for sugar as well as a 12.3 percent for mineral water and natural juices.

Economist Sherif Sami said that the decline in the rate of inflation was mainly a result of lower consumer prices globally and he expected that commodity prices in the world would increase again, “either sooner or later this will lead to an increase in prices and therefore inflation locally, unless the spread of swine flu reduces the population of the world.”

He explained that the increase in world prices will be the result of growing population and improved income levels and the expected ceiling out of consumption and demand.