Oct 22 2010
|more articles from|
Saudi Arabia; High barley prices hit livestock market hard, meat may cost more
The surge has also resulted in an exchange of accusations between importers and traders of barley on the one hand and livestock farmers on the other, especially in Al-Hasa in the Eastern Province where the price of one bag of barley has soared to SR50, according to a recent report in Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper.
Saudi Arabia is the world's largest importer of barley, which is the preferred livestock feed in the Kingdom. The increase in prices, however, has created much commotion with traders and farmers blaming importers, foreign companies and retailers.
"This gives the opportunity to some unscrupulous foreign agents to employ unethical practices of hoarding produce to create artificial shortages to raise prices," he said, while urging the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to take strict measures to stop this.
Prices have shot up 30-50 percent, reaching more than SR50 per bag over the last few days in Al-Hasa barley market. The price of one bag of Australian barley jumped to SR50 from SR34 while European barely rose to SR47 from SR30 over the last few months.
Many traders have accused importers and wholesalers for the price rise while importers and distributors blame each other. Some importers attribute soaring prices to the surge in prices in the international market. One distributor said he buys one bag of barley for SR46 and sells it on for SR50, in line with Ministry of Commerce and Industry instructions. The ministry capped the profit margins of barley importers to five percent at the end of August.
A number of Saudi barley traders pointed out that some foreigners, who work as agents in the livestock market, are also behind the price rise. "They impose a hike of SR10 per bag when the products reach Saudi ports. They do this in conjunction with the importers," said one trader.
Salem Al-Rashidi, a livestock trader, alleged that foreign workers are controlling the barley market in the region. "They are hoarding huge stocks of barley when the product reaches the market, and making it look as if there is a shortage to raise prices," he said, adding that the absence of proper monitoring by the authorities makes the problem worse.
He further called on the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to resolve the matter.
On their part, a number of importers attributed the soaring prices to the situation in Australia and some major barley-producing European countries such as Russia and Ukraine, which supply the Kingdom. They added that a devastating drought in Russia has prompted Moscow to put a ban on grain exports, especially barley.
A ministry official noted that traders were hoarding stocks to raise prices. Hamad Al-Holaibi, director of the ministry's branch in Al-Hasa, blamed importers and retailers for spreading rumors about an increase in global prices to inflate prices in the local market.
© Arab News 2010
© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.