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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 17/08/2008

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Fears of possible shortages and further increase in prices in the holy month of Ramadan are prompting people to stockpile some non-perishable food products.

In anticipation of an increase in sales, supermarkets have replenished their stocks of items like rice, oil, sugar and wheat flour.

"We don't have a shortage of foodstuff at any of our outlets. But there is a trend among consumers of buying commodities in abundance during Ramadan due to fears of price hikes. There is a heavy demand for rice currently,"

said Bejoy Pulicken, spokesperson of Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society.

"We are working on the prices of the entire Ramadan basket which has more than 120 products. The suppliers wanted us to increase the prices, but we refused in the interest of the customers," he added.

One of the consumers, Syed Ali Nazar, said: "Prices of all the food products have gone up. Supermarkets increase the price of a product by 50 fils to Dh1 each time the fresh stocks arrive.

"Since fresh stocks are imported once or twice a month, a small increase in prices of some products goes unnoticed. The difference becomes evident only in the total bill for several products," said Nazar.

"I purchased a 5kg bag of basmati rice for Dh16 two years ago. Two weeks ago, its price was Dh46 and currently it is costing Dh49. Similarly, a 2-kg bag of sugar, costing Dh2 previously, is now being sold at Dh4-5," Nazar pointed out. About stockpiling and price fluctuations, Abdul Rehman, a national, said, "We will purchase some goods in advance to prepare special dishes during Ramadan. Generally, we buy them as per our requirements. Frankly, prices of everything have escalated in the past couple of weeks."

Altaf M.S. said: "Most of time we purchase non-perishable commodities in bulk as it saves money. We hope prices would go down during Ramadan promotions."


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