| 5 December 2023, Tuesday |

Egypt hikes prices of subsidized goods, bread unchanged

The Egyptian government has raised the prices of most of the subsidized goods sold to more than half the population starting from Monday.


According to a document sent by Egypt’s Supply Ministry to store owners, the hikes included a bottle of vegetable oil increasing to EGP 30 ($0.97) from EGP 25, while 1-kg sacks of sugar and rice rose to EGP 12.60 from EGP 10.50.


More than 60 million people benefit from a system where each household with a ration card receives EGP 50 ($1.62) per month per person to buy around 32 goods at subsidized prices, including items such as pasta, flour, and fava beans.


The government also provides heavily subsidized bread to more than 70 million of its 104 million citizens. Plans to raise the price of subsidized bread, which has been unchanged for decades, were postponed after fallout from the war in Ukraine.


Egypt, a major importer of basic commodities such as wheat and vegetable oil, has suffered a foreign currency crunch that pushed its pound down by nearly 50% against the dollar, suppressed imports and pushed official headline inflation to 32.7% in March, just shy of an all-time record.


The country’s finance ministry said last week it will raise funding for its social protection programs by 48.8% to EGP 529.7 billion in the upcoming fiscal year, with funding for food subsidies rising 41.9% to EGP 127.7 billion.


Supply Minister Ali Moselhy said most of the funding increase would go to bread subsidies.


Moselhy also said last week that Egypt is strongly considering approving the use of the currencies of its commodity trade partners, including China, India, and Russia, to try to lessen the need for dollars.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat