Prices rise by 50%

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Mineral water gets costlier next month
By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter/Gulf News
Published: July 30, 2007, 00:01

Abu Dhabi: Consumers are complaining that prices of all essential commodities have gone up.

“Whatever I purchased for Dh100 two months ago costs me around Dh130-Dh140 now,” said James, an Indian expatriate who has been living in Abu Dhabi for the past 10 years.

Many supermarkets also confirmed the price increase of up to 50 per cent for some commodities in the past six months.

A senior manager of a prominent retail chain disclosed that the retail price of wheat flour has gone up by 50 per cent since January.

Basic commodities

“The 50kg bag of wheat flour priced at Dh56.50 in January was increased to Dh71 on July 5 and further increased to Dh83 this week,” he said.

A 10kg bag of another type of flour, a mix of wheat and ground gram, went up by more than 30 per cent in the same period. The retail price was Dh13.50 in January but is now Dh17.95.

Interestingly the price was increased thrice this month. It was increased to Dh14.85 on July 1, and further increased to Dh15.95 and Dh17.95 on July 5 and July 29 respectively.

“Wheat is mainly imported from the United States, India and Pakistan. Apart from the increase in the cost of production, the fluctuation in the exchange rate is also said to be the reason for the substantial rise in price. The appreciation of the Indian rupee against the US dollar and the dirham has caused a price rise for almost all commodities imported from India,” the manager of the retail chain said. But most retailers admitted that prices will not come down when the exchange rate is changed.

The latest in the series of price rises is that of mineral water.

“Almost all suppliers of mineral water have given notice to us that prices will be increased from July 1 onwards. A four-gallon water can will be priced at Dh9 against the current price of Dh7,” said V. Nanda Kumar, Corporate Communications Manager of Emke Group. “We have told the suppliers that the new prices have to be ratified by the Ministry of Economy,” he said.

The price of rice and vegetable oil has also gone up. Two of the oil brands have already implemented the price rise and others have given notice for the same to the wholesale dealers.

The price of sugar has been fluctuating during the past three months. Many consumers have demanded the intervention of the Ministry of Economy to control prices. No official from the ministry was available for comments.