x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

UAE food prices soar during Ramadan

Such results appear to show Government efforts to protect consumers from price rises during the holy month are being thwarted.

ABU DHABI // Fruit and vegetable prices have soared since the start of Ramadan, according to recent  figures.

Fruit prices were up 22.7 per cent in Al Ain, while vegetable prices across the emirate rose 14.4 per cent and as much as 15.5 per cent in Abu Dhabi City.

Emirate-wide, fruit increased in price by 11.4 per cent, and seafood by 3.2 per cent.

The increases were noted in a study by the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (Scad) which also found that food was becoming more expensive as the holy month progressed – with produce bought in the second week more expensive than in the first.

Such results appeared to show that the Government efforts to protect consumers from price rises during the holy month were being thwarted.

The centre monitored a range of 214 foodstuffs in the emirate, finding an average increase of 3.6 per cent since the start of Ramadan – and an increase of 1.7 per cent from the first to the second week of the holy month.

Since the first week of Ramadan, fruit prices rose a further 5.2 per cent in the second week, vegetables by 6 per cent and meat by 1.1?per cent.

In previous years, the Ministry of Economy had tried to ensure food prices were kept low during Ramadan to stop retailers from exploiting the increased demand.

Figures published by Scad last year showed similar results, with an average price increase of 3.3 per cent.

Some hypermarkets in Dubai were also caught trying to raise prices significantly before the start of Ramadan last year.

Price information was collected by a team from Scad’s field operations section, in collaboration with the prices and income section, from “as broad a cross-section of retailers as possible”.

“The report data is instrumental to the monitoring of food prices by the Government authorities, to ensure that there is sufficient supply of various goods during Ramadan, as well as to exercise consumer protection,” said Scad.

ksinclair@thenational.ae