Agenda | Apr 22,2022
A priest inspects a chicken ahead of one of the significant holidays in the Christian faith - Easter - at a Shola Market in the early hours of Wednesday. If the chicken passes the test and the buyer is persuaded, it is good enough for breaking fast on Sunday, and the customary haggling for a price would ensue. To the relief of consumers such as the priest, chicken is one holiday essential that has not shown a distressing price escalation since the Christmas holiday (Gena) season four months ago. It could go anywhere between 500 Br and 800 Br at the Shola market.
Live animals generally did not see as steep a price hike as expected from an economy under a debilitating inflationary pressure, which reached 34.7pc last month. Sheep cost between 5,000 Br and 9,000 Br a head, while certain bulls go for as much as 120,000 Br. The most alarming increase is in the essential items needed for cooking. A kilo of butter is 60pc more expensive than during the Christmas season, while spices and herbs are about a quarter more costly than during the New Year celebrations last September. Sunflower oil, for which Ukraine accounts for nearly half of the world’s exports, had already doubled in price less than two months ago.
There are no easy answers to address the inflationary pressure. Traditional fiscal and monetary policy remedies do not stand a chance before a combination of supply shocks and excess money supply in the economy as well as they would under normal circumstances. The authorities are betting subsidies will stabilise the market, supplying essentials such as teff, wheat, sugar and cooking oil, as the Addis Abeba City Trade Bureau does through cooperative unions.
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PUBLISHED ON Apr 22,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1147]
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