Pre-Ramadan food price hikes shock Saudis

July 11, 2011 at 4:46 PM
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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, July 11 (UPI) -- Saudi consumers are seeing sharp hikes in food prices as they shop for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins Aug. 1.

"I asked the cashiers and store managers why the prices have suddenly increased, and was told the rises in prices are from global manufacturers who have raised their export prices," Sawsam al-Gahtani, a mother of five in Jeddah, told Arab News.

Some meats and vegetables have gone up 20 to 30 percent, while others have nearly doubled.

Saudi grocers say it's not their fault.

"Tomatoes are imported from Syria and onions from Egypt and Yemen, which have all been experiencing political unrest, lowering supply and in turn causing price increases," Faisal Al-Hajaibi, a vegetable vendor in Jeddah, told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia's overall annual inflation rate rose to 4.7 percent in June from 4.6 percent in May, and food and beverages were up 0.5 percent.

The Consumer Protection Association said Saturday it is working with the government to fight price-gouging.

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