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Egypt gears up efforts to resolve skyrocketing sugar prices

Egypt is attempting to resolve skyrocketing sugar prices by pumping additional quantities into the markets and contracting to import more of the vital commodity, Asharq Business reported.

The Ministry of Supply announced in a post on its Facebook page on Wednesday, that it had contracted to import 50,000 tons of sugar, expected to arrive next February, with the aim of “strengthening strategic reserves.”

Sugar prices in Egypt jumped by more than 50 percent in December, with the price of a kilogram exceeding 55 pounds in the markets, amid some merchants stockpiling the commodity with expectations that the government will raise prices.

Throughout 2023, Egypt suffered saw unprecedented highs in the prices of basic commodities, such as sugar, rice, eggs, milk, meat, legumes, vegetables, and fruits.

This has contributed to a jump in inflation rates in cities during the first nine months, before slowing down in October, recording 35.8 percent over the past year on an annual basis after reaching 38 percent in September, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

Minister of Supply Ali Al-Moselhi, announced in a Facebook post that the ministry has injected 245,000 tons of sugar into the markets, and implied the presence of large reserves in the governorates.

He confirmed that the ministry is continuing to pump in large quantities, especially with the approaching sugar cane season in Egypt, which will contribute to a significant increase in production and lower prices globally.

Egypt’s sugar production reaches 2.8 million tons annually, while consumption exceeds 3.2 million tons. The government imports the difference from abroad in cooperation with the private sector.

The government extended the ban on sugar exports for another three months back in September, with the exception of quantities surplus to the needs of the local market.

Meanwhile, the head of the Consumer Protection Agency in Egypt, Ibrahim Al-Sijini, said in a press conference earlier in December that Egypt is not actually facing a sugar crisis.

Al-Sajini explained that the current market crisis is not due to imports, lack of supply, or even the exchange rate, but is a result of “exploitation by merchants.”

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