As food prices climb, inflation soars to 13.5 percent in May

Egypt’s cost of living took a sharp uptick in May, with monthly inflation of 3.1 percent bringing the annual rate to 13.5 percent, state statistics agency CAPMAS reports.

Annual consumer inflation stood at 11 percent in April.

The rise was driven by increasing food prices, which puts a particularly heavy burden on the country’s poorest households, for whom food makes up more than half of total household expenditures, according to UN World Food Program figures. 

When high quality food, such as fresh vegetables, become too expensive, poor families are likley to up their consumption of cheaper and less nutritious food sources like subsidized bread, the WFP says, which can have lifelong effects on children’s health and development.

Vegetables saw the highest monthly price increase, at 7.7 percent according to CAPMAS, followed by meat and poultry at 2.7 percent. Fruit, sugar, fish and seafood and ready-made meals saw marginal rises.

The increase in food prices in Egypt comes as global food prices are at their lowest level since 2009, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Index. The index measures key commodities like cereals, meat and dairy, but does not track vegetable prices.

Egypt’s government has vowed to tackle rising food prices, providing below-market price fruits and vegetables at government outlets during the month of May.

Ramadan, when food prices traditionally rise, begins June 18.


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