The Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry announced on December 27, 2008 that the prices of 17 food commodities dropped between 1 and 39 percent in the Egyptian market during the last three months the year. Global prices for the same commodities, however, dropped between 19 percent and 69 percent over the last five months of 2008.
According to a statement by the Ministry, commodity price reductions were identified through a field survey it conducted randomly at major retail food stories in the Masr Al Jadeeda, Al Sayida Zeinab, and Al Manyal neighbourhoods of Cairo, among others.
Commenting on the slow decline of commodity prices in Egypt compared to the rest of the world, Vice President of the Chambers of Commerce Federation Ahmed Al-Wakeel explained that the final judgment on a comparison with world markets cannot be made until the end of this month, given different harvesting and food production processes elsewhere.
The day after the Ministry of Trade and Industry's statement, the Ministry of Economic Development announced that the average gross domestic product per person for the first quarter of the 2008-09 fiscal year increased 23 percent to nearly US$621 compared to US$504 for the same quarter last year.
Egyptian Minister of Economic Development Dr. Othman Mohamed Othman said this meant that on an annual basis average annual income per person had also increased 23 percent from US$2,100 to US$2,590, between fiscal year 2007-08 and 2008-09. Inflation in consumer prices over the same period, however, reduced the increase in real income to only 3.5 percent.
According to data from the Ministry of Manpower and Emigration, nearly 180,000 new job opportunities were created during the first quarter of the 2008-09 fiscal year, compared to almost 200,000 job opportunities created in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.
[Al Masry Al Yawm newspaper / Arabian Business website]