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Thu 14 Feb 2008 03:08 AM

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UAE food prices head skywards

Basic food prices jump 36% with exporter demands to push rice up by more than 70%, newspaper says.

Basic food prices in the UAE have rocketed by 36%, with basmati rice expected to increase by at least a further 70% a newspaper reported Thursday.

UAE daily Gulf news said an expected shortage in rice would send prices sky-high, with Pakistani rice suppliers threatening to reduce exports if prices are not increased to match Indian products.

The price of cooking oil has risen by 80%, Indian mutton by more than 100%, while cooking gas has increased by 30%, the newspaper said, adding that residents had been forced to shop for groceries in more affordable neighbouring countries.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia said it would withdraw subsidies from rice importers if prices continue to increase without good reason.

Dubai economist Eckart Woertz told Gulf News weak dollar-pegged Gulf currencies had made imports more expensive. “Food price inflation is a global phenomenon, but GCC countries are particularly affected …. if they revalue, food imports will become cheaper”, he said.

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