x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Cost of food rises in Abu Dhabi despite Ramadan crackdown

Food prices increased by 3.3 per cent in Abu Dhabi during Ramadan despite efforts by the Government to keep costs low in the Holy Month.

Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (Scad) said prices were higher in the final week of Ramadan compared to the week preceding the Holy Month.
Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (Scad) said prices were higher in the final week of Ramadan compared to the week preceding the Holy Month.

Food prices increased by 3.3 per cent in Abu Dhabi during Ramadan despite efforts by the Government to keep costs low in the Holy Month.

Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (Scad) said prices were higher in the final week of Ramadan compared to the week preceding the Holy Month as the prices of fish and seafood spiked 9.6 per cent and meat jumped 6.6 per cent.

Every year, the Ministry of Economy keep vigiance over food prices to ensure that traders do not take advantage of the increased demand during the Holy Month.

This year was no different as the ministry toured each of the emirates' fruit and vegetable markets to monitor prices.

V Nandakumar, the spokesman for LuLu Hypermarket, said he was surprised by the figures and that prices had not increased at his supermarket during Ramadan because, like many stores, the company had pledged to fix prices.

"We took a decision to keep the prices low," he said. "There's huge demand during Ramadan and Eid for meat and fish so it might be that, but I do not think prices have increased at our hypermarket."

Scad said prices in Abu Dhabi fell 0.1 per cent in the fourth week of Ramadan this year compared to the previous week as fruits, milk, cheese and eggs all became cheaper.

But prices were 0.7 per cent higher in the fourth week compared to the first week.

In the run up to Ramadan, some hypermarkets in Dubai were caught raising food prices substantially.

Inspectors from the consumer protection office at the Department of Economic Development found increases of up to 8 per cent on frozen meat, 12 per cent on fish, 39 per cent on sugar and 50 per cent on fruit and vegetables.

The ministry's efforts to keep prices low have been country-wide, with traders regularly warned not to hike prices.

More than half the stalls at Sharjah's fruit and vegetable market had their trading licenses confiscated last year as many of the businesses did not comply with Ramadan price controls.

Globally, the price of food spiked in the run up to Ramadan, according to a food prices index compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

It averaged 213 points in July, 6 per cent up from June, as grain and sugar prices jumped, as well as oils and fats. The FAO said the prices of meat and dairy products were little changed.