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Fresh food prices fall by 1.8% in April.

Summary: DUBAI -- The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday launched the monthly Fresh Food Price Index, or FPPI, to monitor the price trends of fresh food items in the emirate.

DUBAI -- The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday launched the monthly Fresh Food Price Index, or FPPI, to monitor the price trends of fresh food items in the emirate.

The index, introduced as a part of the chamber's overall consumer price index monitoring system, will track prices for fresh meat, fish and seafoods, fruits and vegetables.

"Targeting businesses and consumers, this latest initiative tracks prices for fresh food items by comparing their monthly as well as year-on-year price changes that would serve as a reference for all the chambers' stakeholders," according to Dubai Chamber statement.

The Dubai Chamber will become the second institution in the emirate after the Dubai Statistics Centre to issue the consumer price index. The move will help monitor the latest price trends in the consumer segment as well as give more credibility to inflation figures, which consider an important element of economic policy.

Dubai inflation edged up to record 0.74 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period of 2010, as food and transportation costs continued to surge, the Dubai Statistics Centre said last month.

"The latest April fresh food price index indicated a drop of 4.1 per cent in comparison to the month of March and a 1.8 per cent slide from the previous year," the statement said.

The April results of the FPPI is based on a collection of 595 price quotations acquired from Dubai's main fish and vegetable markets, major hypermarkets as well as from smaller but easily accessible groceries.

On a year-on-year basis, average price index for fresh food dropped, registering an average inflation rate of -1.8 per cent, with price index for fresh vegetables registering the largest drop of 8.2 per cent. The price index for fresh fruits also dropped, though at lower rate of 1.6 per cent.

On the other hand, price index for fresh meat rose by 1.8 per cent, while fresh fish and seafoods recorded an increase of 1.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, all price indices indicated month-on-month slowing down, with average inflation rate for fresh food dropping by 4.1 per cent in April. The largest decline in the price index was noted for fresh fruits, at 6.3 per cent; followed by fresh meat at 4.5 per cent; fresh fish and seafoods at 3.6 per cent; and fresh vegetables at 1.7 per cent. The UAE's annual inflation hovered below one per cent last year, as lending and the property sector remained weak, although trade has picked up strongly.

UAE Central Bank Governor Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi said in March he saw inflation in the UAE ranging around "very low" single-digit rates. UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri has forecast inflation in 2011 to be at two per cent.

* muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:May 2, 2011
Words:522
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