Egypt takes provisions ahead of expected food price hikes

An official at the Investment Ministry said that state budget allocations for food and commodities will be increased in order to avoid a hike in prices.

The state-run food commodity companies are also taking precautionary measures to face the steep weakening of the pound against the dollar, especially in the past days, to reach more than LE6.4 on Tuesday.

Ahmed al-Rokaiby, chairman of the Food Industries Holding Company (FIHC), said there is a strategic reserve of 4.3 million tons of wheat and 175,000 tons of sugar that can last until May.

He added that the import of food supplies will be affected by the weaker pound.

“As these are subsidized commodities, the government will have to bear the difference between the dollar and the Egyptian pound,” he said.

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the FIHC has requested the Investment Ministry to pay its dues in order to ensure liquidity in case more imports are required.

According to the Exports and Imports Supervisory Authority, Egypt imported 573,000 tons of sugar in October.

Gamal Bayoumy, secretary general of the Union of Arab Investors, said subsidies take a quarter of the state budget.

The Central Bank recently announced that it has financed the import of food and petroleum products worth US$14 billion.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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