The rising prices of goods are now a daily preoccupation for the Lebanese citizens. With each passing day, some types of commodities become out of reach for a large number of families and individuals in Lebanon.
As the holy month of Ramadan – which usually sees a spike in the price of several goods given the growing demand – is inching closer, researchers from the Crisis Observatory studied the “Fattouch Index”, an index that has been annually issued by the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade during the month of Ramadan since 2012.
The index includes the prices of 14 ingredients that make up the fattouch salad along with the proper weight for each type.
If we look at how the Fattouch Index has evolved since 2012 and if we conduct a simulation of what its cost will be in Ramadan this year based on the prices of ingredients by the end of March, we see that the index has increased by 210% this year compared to last year.
The 2020 index had also recorded a surge of 36% compared to 2019, as indicated in the graph.
The cost of making fattouch for a small family of five is estimated – at the beginning of the month of Ramadan this year – at around 18,500 Lebanese pounds compared to 6,000 LBP in 2020 and around 4,500 LBP in 2019.
What does this skyrocketing rise in prices mean?
In a simple simulation, the fattouch salad only will cost a family of five around 555,000 LBP throughout a whole month, equivalent to 82% of the minimum wage in Lebanon.
As it became obvious also, this significant increase in the Fattoush Index will be accompanied by an inflated price of other commodities that are usually consumed by fasting people in their Ramadan meals. It means that the majority of families in Lebanon will be barely able to secure goods and basic ingredients during this Ramadan holiday.
This major hike in prices will push families towards a negative way of adaptation to this inflation, either by reducing food quantities or relying on cheaper alternatives such as fibers instead of vegetables and meat, which would result in malnutrition.
The Crisis Observatory at the American University of Beirut (AUB) is a research initiative under the supervision of Dr. Nasser Yassin, which aims to examine the repercussions of the various crises in Lebanon and the means of addressing them.