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Sun 26 Jul 2009 07:30 PM

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UAE cuts Ramadan food prices

Move follows deals agreed last week with food retailers allowing for discounts of up to 60%.

The UAE plans to cut food prices during Ramadan so that crisis-hit consumers can afford to fill their plates when they break their fast at the end of each day, an official said on Sunday.The second-largest Arab economy signed agreements with supermarket chains across the country last week to offer discounts of up to 60 percent on more than 200 food items during Ramadan, said Hashim Saeed al-Neaimi, the manager of consumer protection at the UAE's Ministry of Economy.

"The economic crisis has affected consumers' pay and we want everybody to be able to afford the majority of food items during Ramadan," al-Neaimi told Reuters in an interview.

Concerns about food price manipulation typically emerge during Ramadan, and the following Eid holiday, due to higher demand.

Ramadan is slated to begin on Aug 21. During the month, consumer spending on food items increases, said al-Neaimi.

The UAE has expanded the initiative to cut prices on more products after encouraging lower prices for the first time last year, Neaimi said.

Abraham George, a store manager at Baniyas Cooperative Society supermarket in Abu Dhabi, said the drop in prices would be short-lived.

"Items such as sugar, oil and rice will be sold at cost value during Ramadan, but after the month is over, prices will go back to normal," he said.

"It's a short term dropping of prices so it will not really harm business, but I think it will encourage people to spend more which is a healthy sign for our survival."

In April, the UAE said it would move to cut the fixed cost of basic food items after a slump in global commodities prices.

The UAE fixed prices of some basic foodstuffs last year at 2007 levels to curb inflation which was then at a 20-year peak. (Reuters)

Fred 10 years ago

A welcome gesture, what about the rest of the year?

One of the UAE Sufferer 10 years ago

I think we got bored of such things. Last time they said that the prices will be cut for some of food items including chicken and in the real world nothing happened even in large and mega markets such as Abudhabi Cooperative, Carrefour, or LuLu. It is only nice words from people are not affected by prices at all and keen to keep chairs.

Michelle 10 years ago

I doubt that the price cuts will apply to fresh produce like fruit and vegatables, no....apply price cuts to the food that is the worst for you and the worst food to break fast with...sugar !!!

RamRao 10 years ago

I appreciate the UAE government iniative. atleast here the government comes up and stands at times, where this is not possible in other countries. let the government release the prices in dialy news papers. I am sure if any official sees this message will implement. also most of the customers will have the price knowledge before they purchase. Thank you UAE people and Government

sandi 10 years ago

UAE plans cuts food prices for Ramadan. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Ramadan the Holy month of fasting? So why would people eat more food? While common food items which are in any case marketed as Ramadan specials like every year what more is being offered. Most of us will not feel the benefit because if we are charged lets say 10% to 20% lower of food items being used during Ramadan the Supermarkets and grocery stores will make up that loss by hiking the prices of many other items just as essential to our monthly household use, be it eggs, household cleaning detergents, breakfast cereals and so many more items that fill our shopping cart. This is just feel good physiological stuff, reality is we will be paying more!