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Fri 18 Sep 2009 01:06 PM

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Qatar's cabinet approves panel to curb prices

Gov't to focus on sudden price rise in respect of certain basic food items.

The Qatar cabinet has given its approval to set up a committee that would study how the phenomenon of sudden price hikes can be kept under check, according to a daily.

According to The Peninsula daily, the government will focus on sudden price rise in respect of certain basic food items, including fresh vegetables.

Once it gets operational, the panel will have the right to intervene and freeze the prices of fresh vegetables and other essential food items if there are sudden price spurts, it added.

The panel will also look into the causes for the price rises.

The Peninsula said that the idea to create such a panel was proposed by the Ministry of Business and Trade and after it was referred to the Cabinet, the proposal was approved.

Currently, traders are free to fix the prices of consumer items. But with the new law coming into force, traders would lose that freedom. Asked that Qatar followed the principle of free market, Al Saadi said sometimes regulatory interventions became necessary.

Investment bank EFG-Hermes forecast Qatar would have negative inflation of an estimated 4.6 percent this year before resuming an upward tick to a positive rate of 2.7 percent in 2010.

Qatar inflation soared to 15.2 percent in 2008.

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