x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Food prices falling, says ministry

Food prices across the country appear to be levelling out or falling, according to anecdotal evidence.

Shoppers can find some relief at the stores as prices show signs of falling, the Ministry of the Economy says.
Shoppers can find some relief at the stores as prices show signs of falling, the Ministry of the Economy says.

Food prices across the country appear to be levelling out or falling, according to anecdotal evidence compiled by the Ministry of Economy, but the changes have not matched the sharp decline in food prices worldwide. Staple foods, including sugar, potatoes, bread, chicken and some types of rice were unchanged or had fallen in price since last month, the ministry said on Saturday. The ministry's figures show slight declines in prices since September.

The ministry's numbers are consistent with data compiled by the Abu Dhabi government's Department of Planning and Economy, which found last week that food prices in the emirate had either dropped or stayed the same in the past month. But both measurements show that UAE prices are not falling as quickly as the rest of the world. An index of prices compiled by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization fell 19.4 per cent between September and November. Data for the index was not available for December, but is expected to show further declines.

Economists said the price declines were led mainly by falling fuel prices, which had reduced the costs of producing and transporting goods. Some food items in the UAE were sharply changed over this fall: domestic cucumbers sold at Lulu supermarket in Dubai fell by nearly half since September, to Dh3.75 per kilogram, while Indian gate basmati rice fell by more than 10 per cent in Carrefour supermarkets in Ras al Khaimah, to Dh122.40 per 10kg bag.

Other prices moved against the general downwards trend, however. Basmati No. 1 rice from Pakistan rose 52 per cent at Carrefour supermarkets in Sharjah since October, to Dh57 per 10kg bag. cstanton@thenational.ae