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Economic crisis: Meat prices soar by 20%, new cars sales at zero!

21-11-2019

The aftermath of the current financial crisis is exacerbating in the wake of the strict withdrawal limits adopted by banks. Following the fuel and bread crises and the soaring prices of vital commodities, the head of the Syndicate of Food Industries, Ahmad Hteit, pointed to a 20% increase in the prices of meat, warning that the country’s stocks of this foodstuff are expected to be used up by the end of next month. He also revealed that as Lebanon imports all its needs of meat and livestock, there will be soon an additional rise in the average prices of this main commodity. In this regard, Al Akhbar daily indicated a rise during November in the prices of most food items by 20% to 25%, pointing to the chaotic conditions in the sector. Al Akhbar wrote, that while some traders fiddled with the prices of certain merchandise according to their personal estimates, others rose by 20% the prices of all their commodities to match the fluctuating rate of the US dollar, and others decided to constrain the amount consumers should buy from some foods, like the wheat, sugar or grains, for example! In this regard, Al Akhbar criticized the work of the ministry of economy and trade which has confined itself to issuing tickets for stores and hypermarkets that exceed the reasonable or average profit margin. Citing the director general of the ministry, Alya Abbas, the newspaper said the tickets remain unenforceable as long as the courts are sluggish in acting and the real value of the tickets do not in fact deter big businesses and traders. Abbas also noted that the Directorate of Consumers Protection is monitoring the sales and purchasing bills in order to determine the margin of profits, stressing that goods currently on shelves are stored goods. In a related vein, the Association of Car Importers member, Antony Bou Khater, said the activity of sales of new cars in one month (from October 17 to November 17) recorded 0%, noting that around 1000 cars were sold during the period from October 1 to October 17. (Al Akhbar, Al Diyar, November 21, 2019)

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