Despite last month’s fuel price hikes, prices of basic food items remain stable and are not expected to rise in the near future, Foodstuff Traders Association (FTA) President Samer Jawabreh told The Jordan Times on Sunday.
Jawabreh said that prices of sugar, red meat and rice had actually gone down slightly in recent weeks, attributing stability in the food market to high supply and low demand.
“Food traders are still storing some of the goods they imported for Ramadan,” he noted. Ramadan ended on August 17.
Jawabreh also indicated that prices of certain food items went down in the global market, citing the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Food Price Index for November, which showed that prices were down three points or 1.5 per cent from October and the lowest since June 2012.
According to the FAO website, international prices of all commodity groups included in the index, except for dairy, fell in November, with sugar experiencing the sharpest dip, followed by oils and cereals.
The decline puts the November index value nearly 3 per cent below one year ago, the FAO said.
However, Jawabreh warned that food prices in the local market might go up in the medium and long term as merchants and importers seek to offset the increase in shipping costs they are incurring after the government lifted fuel subsidies in mid November.
The shipping cost of a 20-foot container recently rose by JD100, he said, while that of a 40-foot container went up by JD150.
The FTA president noted that the association had monitored food prices before and after the government decided to increase fuel prices, and found that prices had not changed.
He noted that prices of certain non-essential commodities had increased in grocery stores, which represent only 15 per cent of the retail market.
Consumers usually do their shopping at large supermarkets and state-owned outlets, he said, with the former accounting for over 50 per cent of the retail market, while the market share of state-owned consumer corporations is over 30 per cent.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said it had also conducted a survey on food prices, which found the prices of 52 items had remained stable during November and the prices of 13 others had gone down.
The ministry indicated that local fresh meat, imported beef, sugar and rice had become less expensive over the course of last month.
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