Prices of fish, fruits and mutton shoot up as Eid approaches

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Prices of fish, fruits and mutton shoot up as Eid approaches
Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, Director of Consumer Protection Department, Ministry of Economy, inspecting a shop at Fruits and Vegetables market in Sharjah

Abu Dhabi - Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD) which monitors changes in food prices, said there has been a significant increase in the prices of key food sub-groups as compared with the third week of Ramadan.

By Haseeb Haider/Principal Correspondent

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Published: Thu 16 Jul 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 17 Jul 2015, 10:00 AM

With Eid around the corner, prices of fish, fruits and meat have seen a significant rise in the fourth week of Ramadan compared to what they were a week ago. Seeing a rise in demand of certain food items - especially during this time of the year - like mutton, retailers have begun withdrawing promotion offers and going back to the original (pre-Ramadan) prices.
Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD) which monitors changes in food prices, said there has been a significant increase in the prices of key food sub-groups as compared with the third week of Ramadan.
Explaining the phenomenon, Wissal Ahmed Khan, chief executive officer at Alam Supermarkets, said there is no increase in prices.
In fact, the prices have just gone back to pre-Ramadan levels. "During the holy month of Ramadan, almost all leading retail chains offer promotions in which they sell fruits, vegetables and meats on discounts. In most cases they sell these on cost-to-cost basis, without making any profit and some items are sold event below cost."
But when Eid Al Fitr approaches, in the last weeks of the holy month of Ramadan, they start going back on to the original prices and start withdrawing discounts, he said. However, some items which are high in demand like mutton and beef see rise in prices due to demand supply mismatch, Khan explained. In Ramadan, consumption of vegetables, fruits and meats doubles, he said.
One of the leading food importer, the UAE imports 1.5 million tonnes of vegetables and 1.9 million metric tonnes of fruits, Khan said.
The local popular fish sherry and Tuna catch is rapidly decreasing in the waters of UAE, Oman and other regional fishing hubs, due to scorching heat in thie summer season. However, their demand has seen a considerable rise during Ramadan.
Prices of jash or trevally fish surged 8.5 per cent in the fourth week of Ramadan, while the price of sherry fish went up by 4.3 per cent, according to SCAD. These were followed by the price of gabab or yellow tuna - which is widely used in salads - which went up by 2.3 per cent in the fourth week. Indian fresh mutton saw prices rising by 4.9 per cent in the fourth week, as it is the most sought after staple food. Meat prices are likely to increase up to five per cent during the Eid Al Fitr long weekend.
The consumption of mutton, beef multiplies five times during the Eid break and that disturbs supply-demand equilibrium. The fourth week of Ramadan saw fruit prices go up by 1.7 per cent, reflecting rises of 1.2 per cent in Abu Dhabi region, 3.3 per cent in Al Ain region and 2.9 per cent Al Gharbia region.
The biggest hike was seen in the prices of apple that rose by 8.9 per cent. The prices of apple rose because supply was only available from Chile only. SCAD survey also found that the prices of oranges have also gone up by 4.9 per cent in the fourth week of Ramadan. However, the prices of vegetables in Abu Dhabi, declined by 2.2 per cent.
The drop in the vegetables group is due to the decrease observed in the prices of cucumber that dropped 26.4 per cent, and garlic by 13.3 per cent, while the price of onion rose 22.3 per cent.
Other expenditure groups of the Ramadan food prices index changed only marginally or remained stable during the fourth week of Ramadan, compared to the third week.
haseeb@khaleejtimes.com



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