Saudi Arabia Says Food Prices May Go Up 30% This Year

January 6, 2008
Moussa Ahmad
Business Intelligence, Middle East

SAUDI ARABIA. Prices of food products in Saudi Arabia could go up by 20%-30% in 2008 due to a drop in global supplies and the weakness in the US dollar, local newspapers Arab News reported on Saturday quoting a report from the Saudi Trade and Industry Ministry.

The report comes a day before Commerce and Industry Minister Hashim Yamani, in a bid to contain milk prices , was due to hold a meeting with directors of milk-manufacturing companies in the Kingdom at his office in Riyadh said Arab News.

“The meeting is aimed at discussing how to bring prices of milk and other dairy products back to their previous levels,” an official statement issued by the ministry said.

The minister’s meeting with dairy producers comes after complaints that his ministry was doing nothing to control skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.

Minister Yamani held a series of meeting with importers and supermarket owners to create “a strong and fair competition environment and ensure adequate supply of commodities,” the ministry said.

Inflation in Saudi Arabia rose to 5.35% in December, according to a report from the Saudi Arabian Market Agency (SAMA). The dollar's weakness helped drive up food and beverage costs 6.5% in the third quarter, while rents jumped 9.5% in the period, the data showed.

"The change in the prices of imported goods is an important factor affecting the level of domestic inflation," the central bank said.