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Price Increase on Market Products

Published: December 10, 2013 | 8:14 am
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The arrival of winter has coincided with a noticeable increase in the prices on products of everyday use. The price increase has affected both imported and locally produced goods. Vendors on the agrarian market have stated that the price of potatoes has gone up by 40-50 Tetri per kilo in recent days, expecting to reach the 1.50 Lari mark soon. None of the varieties of fruit costs less than 1 Lari per kilo, while the price of beans has almost reached 5 Lari per kilo, and that of cheese 8-9 Lari per kilo. According to the vendors, the price changes are of great concern to the poor.
“This market is visited by some of the poorest consumers. Cauliflower costs 1.20 Lari per kilo, and people are unable to buy it. Some are asking me to weigh a single cucumber or apple for them. Supermarkets have destroyed the market,” one of the vendors at the agrarian market said.
The price hike has been linked to the winter season by some, and to the devaluation of the Lari and the fasting period by others.
“Fish and mushrooms have also become more expensive. The price has gone up by almost a Lari. Everything is more expensive because of the fasting period,” a young man said at the mushroom counter.
Most vendors do not see anything alarming in the price hike during the pre-New Year period, regarding this as a normal occurrence. “Prices will probably increase by 20 December, and fall again after 1 January,” they say.
One of the potato vendors is accusing the government of neglect. “Lots of land has been left unploughed and unsown. Weather was bad, and nitrogen was not supplied on time. I personally sold potatoes for 1.30 Lari per kilo on the market. Tomorrow, or the day after, the price will probably reach 1.50 Lari. You should talk to the farmers in the villages, rather than here, that is where you will see their troubles more clearly.”
Experts have linked the price increase to the pre-New Year period and the accompanying increase in demand, seeing nothing alarming in this trend. Thus, economic expert Irakli Lekvinadze views the minor hike on the price of food as a normal seasonal trend.
“Everyone is preparing for the New Year, as is the case every year. The increase in demand will probably lead to a price increase from 10 December. The prices usually become stable again in early January. The dynamics of the Lari’s exchange rate are within the 1.3% mark, which should not have an impact on the consumer market. If that was the case, then the price of wheat and sugar would have gone up, which has not happened yet. The Lari’s exchange rate is expected to fluctuate, though it will then be the National Bank’s prerogative to halt the fluctuation. Only if the Lari was to be devalued by about 5%, then we would expect the prices on imported fuel, wheat and sugar to increase,” Mr Lekvinadze stated.

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