Grocery prices of certain consumer items such as chillies, black pepper, lentils and sugar are on the rise, and its because of lower-than-expected crop in India.
Retailers say that the upward trend could continue for the remainder of the year.
“Prices of some commonly-consumed spices such as [chillies], cumin, turmeric, seeds, and black pepper are going up because of crop failure in India. In addition, prices of sugar and different types of lentils have risen as well,” said Dr Dhananjay Datar, chairman and managing director, Al Adil Trading, one of the leading importers of spices and other staple food products from India.
“For the remainder of the year, the prices could go higher further due to the shortage of these items. It’s only due to less crop than estimated, as other key aspects such as shipping costs and currency are the same,” he said.
Prices of lentils have gone up in India as well due to shortage in the domestic market, and the world’s fifth largest country is looking to import from other countries in the Asian region. Many regions of the South Asian country are facing arid conditions as well.
Al Adil Trading currently operates over 50 outlets across the UAE, mainly in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Emirates NBD Research expects overall inflation in the UAE to average 3.5 per cent this year as compared to 4.8 per cent in 2022. Inflation in Dubai slowed to a 14-month low of 3.3 per cent in April, down from 4.3 per cent in March.
Prices for recreation and culture rose 3.2 per cent in April, followed by education (1.1 per cent) and food (1.1 per cent) in Dubai.
“We expect inflation in the UAE to moderate this year, as last year’s surge in food and energy prices is now in the base and prices for these commodities have eased in recent months. However, housing inflation is expected to tick higher in the CPI in 2023,” it said.
India is one of the largest source markets for staple food items for UAE importers. Bilateral trade has grown to $45.5 billion (Dh167 billion) since the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) last year.
Dr Dhananjay Datar said traders look to source these consumer products mainly from India as they can import in large quantities.
“However, prices of items to be imported from India could see rise of up to another 30 per cent,” added Dr Datar.
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