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Egypt signs contracts for 134,300 tons of sugar amid price hike, shortage
Last Updated: 2016-10-17 10:36 | Xinhua
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Egypt's Supply Ministry said on Sunday that it has contracted for 134,300 tons of sugar that will be directly pumped into the local market next month, in a move aimed at regulating the market amid price hike and a shortage of the essential commodity, official MENA news agency reported.

Supply and Internal Trade Minister Mohamed Ali Meselhi made the announcement during a meeting with a number of heads of companies and the ministry's sectors, according to MENA.

The meeting aimed at following up measures and mechanisms for providing basic goods and foodstuffs at low prices to curb price hikes and alleviate the suffering of low-income families.

Egypt is facing a sugar scarcity due to an acute dollar shortage, leading to a current rise in prices of the unsubsidized sugar to reach 9-10 pounds per kg from four, five, six pounds per kg in August.

Meselhi said the ministry has also contracted for another 500,000 tons of sugar to secure stability in home markets.

The Egyptian official underscored the necessity of tightening up control and inspection measures on different outlets and supply complexes across the nation to ensure commodities reach people with the announced prices and to stop any monopolistic and smuggling practices.

On Saturday, the ministry said it set the commercial price of subsidized sugar at six Egyptian pounds per kg to be available at the ministry's sales outlets, adding that it will continue to sell subsidized sugar for five pounds per kg within the ration card system.

According to the ministry, 71 million people use the government's subsidy cards to buy essential food goods.

In June, the agriculture ministry announced that Egypt's sugar production reached 2.2 million tons in 2016, around 900,000 tons less than the local demand.

Egypt has been struggling to survive a sharp economic recession that developed over the past five years of political turmoil and relevant security issues, leading to the decline of tourism, exports, foreign investments and foreign currency reserves.

The foreign currency reserves at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) declined since the 2011 uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak from 36 billion U.S. dollars in early 2011 to 19.59 billion at the end of September.

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