Radar | Sep 10,2021
On the eve of the Ethiopian Christmas (Genna), January 6, 2020, a Suzuki truck stood at the entrance of Shola Market with a vendor shouting at the top of his lungs about merchandise with a special discount. The truck was stocked full of chickens, each going for the price of 200 Br and brought straight from the Wolaita Zone of Southern Regional State.
His friend stayed in the truck with the chickens in order to fetch one whenever a customer approached. But the day was long, and business was slow. He spent it in the truck’s shade from the sun, idling on his phone.
It was not a different story inside the market or in many of the others across the city. Holidays, once characterised by commotion, were for Genna more silent and slow.
"There would be no time to stand around and talk about how there's no business," said one vendor in Mercato, surprised that he was not haggling with customers on an Ethiopian holiday.
Even the livestock and dairy markets were largely depressed. Sheep sold for a little over 3,000 Br; chicken could be bought for as low as 170 Br; and eggs stayed around six Birr each.
That prices for goods were not on the increase, especially after the New Year Holiday four months ago, would be a good thing under normal circumstances. Part of it may be explained with lack of hoarding, price hiking and early distribution of items to consumer cooperative unions, according to the Addis Abeba Trade Bureau.
But experts worry that this is not the case. It is not that supply has improved, as the activities in markets portend, it is a depression in aggregate demand.
The main exhibit is headline inflation, which stood at 18.2pc, though it was 0.8 percentage points lower than the month before. Coupled with a currency fast depreciating over the past year – the Birr lost a third of its value against a basket of major currencies – there is a dampened demand.
"The air is dead," is how the vendor, who brought chickens from Wolaita, summed up the Genna market.
You can read the full story here
PUBLISHED ON Jan 09,2021 [ VOL 21 , NO 1080]
Radar | Sep 10,2021
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Commentaries | Aug 29,2020
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Featured | Jun 21,2021
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