Food prices see sharp hikes this year

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) in the Kingdom, which is based on the market prices of essential commodities including livestock, vegetables and fruits, has registered a sharp increase this year compared to the figure last year.

The increase in WPI follows is consequent to the increase in the wholesale prices of about 20 food commodities that have gone up in the first half of the year as compared to the corresponding period last year, a recent study conducted by the Special Investigation Unit at Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper has revealed.

WPI, besides giving a clear picture on prevailing price levels, also gives a comprehensive account of market movements based on the changes in the average price levels of goods traded.
Cucumber and tomatoes recorded the highest price rise on the list with increases of 72.9 percent and 21.1 percent respectively, followed by potatoes and onions recording an increase of 14.3 and 11.3 percent respectively.

Other commodities which recorded an increase include okra (8.4 percent), shrimps (5.4 percent), in addition to grapes, eggs and live sheep (4.4 percent). The study also revealed that the wholesale prices of foodstuff and livestock has gone up by over 1 percent, from 181.6 points at the beginning of the year to 183.4 points by the end of June.

The WPI figures shot up mainly because of hike in prices of fruits and vegetables -- 3.9 percent from 174.9 points to 181.7 points by end June. There are 12 items that compromise this part of the index where the prices of the majority of the listed items sky-rocketed, leading to the price rise in cucumber and tomatoes.

On the other hand, prices of apples and oranges dropped by 14.5 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. But apples and dates witnessed a rise in June, compared to May, by 2.9 percent and 0.2 percent respectively, while prices of oranges leveled out during the same period.
Dairy products, which include six items like fresh dairy products, powdered milk, yogurt, butter, cheese and Zabadi, followed a close second in terms of price rise which influenced WPI. Fodder and cereals were placed third registering an increase of 1 percent.
Prices of cooking ingredients, mainly minced meat, rose by 0.9 percent.
The fifth component consists of coffee and tea which recorded an average increase of 0.7 percent; tea 0.9 percent and coffee 0.1 percent.

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