Experts fear a second wave of price rises will hit local markets
Egyptians are struggling to cope with the cost of living as household commodity prices continue to rise due to the decline of foreign currency reserves, and the slide in the value of the Egyptian pound agains
t the US dollar.A recent report issued by the Egyptian Chambers of Commerce revealed a significant 5 to 20 percent price hike in more than 20 food items and pharmaceutical products. It is believed a second wave will increase pasta, cooking oil, rice, sugar and flour prices.
The Thermometer price index indicated that the general index of the goods prices recorded a sudden rise amounted to about 5 percent, while the price of a single commodity, car batteries, declined.
The Chambers report quoted a local traders as saying that "some importers are reluctant to launch their products. They are awaiting new price rises in light of the dollar's increase against the pound."
Osama Sultan, a member of the Board of Directors at the Chambers of Commerce said: "We have noticed a big increase in the general index of commodity prices, which tracks goods prices on a weekly basis. There has been approximately a 5% increase compared to the first week of January after tracking the prices of 80 commodities."
He added that the monitoring team noticed a 10 to 20 percent increase in a large number of pharmaceutical drugs. Sultan confirmed that the price of wood had gone up by 3 to 5 percent, and added that a large number of imported industrial goods such as paper will witness a price increase between 3 to 7 percent.
Sultan also said that cotton prices will climb by 7 percent, with a similar hike expected on mobile phones and imported electronic devices.
Head of the Division of Food in the Chamber of Commerce, Ahmed Yahya, told Arabstoday that the increase in food prices was down to the high value of the dollar against the pound. He added that sugar prices surged as a result of the Trade Minister Hatem Saleh's decision to impose a new levy on imported sugar.
Yahya explained that if the tax law was applied or if the value of the dollar against the Egyptian pound kept rising, the food prices will continue to rocket up. He also cited concern that "some greedy merchants" are raising prices without the tax increase being implemented.