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Prices of rice and pulses likely to go up in UAE PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 April 2008

Prices of rice and pulses - two staple food items - are expected to jump in the local markets in the next few weeks due to a ban on exports by India and Pakistan, according to Internet.

“As such the prices of essentials are already high, we anticipate a shortage in supply in the local markets due to restrictions by India on rice and Pakistan on pulses,” Ashraf Ali, executive director of Emke Group, which operates the largest chain of hypermarkets in the Gulf, told Gulf News.

“We are already looking at alternative sources to import rice and pulses to maintain the flow of supply. However, regarding prices, we will have to check with suppliers.”

News agency Reuters yesterday said, Indian restrictions on rice exports will spur global price rises and help fellow exporters like Pakistan and Thailand because overseas sales from India will fall to a fraction of last year’s, a trade body said.

Exports from India are likely to fall to 250,000 tonnes this financial year from 5.5 million tonnes in 2007/08, Sanjay Sethia, president of the All India Rice Exporters’ Association, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

“Pakistan, Thailand and other exporting countries will make money, while India will lose out,” he said. India banned non-basmati exports on Monday to try to ease pressure on prices, which has pushed wholesale price inflation to a 14-month high.

Price cap on basmati rice may cause severe shortage soon Dubai: Basmati rice, the most popular grain in the UAE, has started vanishing from supermarket shelves because a sharp cost increase coupled with a rise in domestic demand in exporting countries has resulted in a shortage of supply.

Some major Pakistani rice exporters are considering reducing exports further or completely withdrawing from the UAE market as they are not getting the rate they demand, said officials and suppliers.

“The price of basmati rice has shot up 100 per cent during the past year because of a reduction in crop production by about 20 to 25 per cent, in addition to an increase in domestic consumption in Pakistan and increasing exports to Iran, China and other Gulf countries,” said Zahid Khawaja, president of the consortium of Basmati Rice Exporters of Pakistan.

He told Gulf News that the exporters have been incurring heavy losses for the past three months since the UAE Ministry of Economy capped prices of rice imported from Pakistan.

“We also expect a further 70 to 75 per cent increase in rice prices this year,” he said. He said the price of Pakistani rice was fixed at Dh115 for a 39kg bag early last year and was increased to Dh140 last October.

However, exporters are forced to increase prices again because of a constant price hike for raw rice in Pakistan since October.

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