RIYADH — Minister of Commerce, Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi confirmed that they are taking all appropriate measures to prevent any price manipulation.

Dr. Al-Qasabi made these remarks on Tuesday during the periodic government communication press conference, which was about the price hike, as he said that the impact of the rising prices and inflation is a crisis that touches every family and every home, and the whole world is now suffering from it.

The COVID-19 pandemic was like an economic, social and even psychological tsunami to the extent that it is considered the biggest crisis that has hit and affected the whole world, he stated.

Dr. Al-Qasabi mentioned 5 global events that led to an increase in prices during the past two years, starting from 2020 to the present day.

He said that on February 2020 the coronavirus has swept the world, which led to a curfew and restricted travel and transportation. Then, in March 2021, and after the pandemic recovery, the demand has increased versus supply.

Al-Qasabi continued that the suspension of navigation through the Suez Canal had also had a significant impact. While in July of 2021 the second phase of the COVID-19 curfew came, which suspended several things.

Last but not least, the event that increased the impact was what happened at the beginning of 2022, in February, which is the crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

Dr. Al-Qasabi confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian crisis have disrupted many ports around the world.

He explained the repercussions of global events on prices, which are several things, most notably: The transportation and supply chain crisis that led to the disruption of some transportation's ports such as the main port of Shanghai, as well as the cost of transportation and shipping increased to about 6 times. In addition to the increase in the prices of shipping insurance.

As for production and manufacturing, the minister indicated that the weakness of production and manufacturing had led to the shortage in labor forces and a decline in the levels of food production and commodity manufacturing.

While he added that the rise in the energy and raw materials prices had caused the increase in the transportation and shipping costs due to the high fuel prices, in addition to the increase in the cost of operating factories and production lines.

The rationing of strategic exports from some countries had significant repercussions, Al-Qasabi said, saying that it led to the increase in prices of wheat, sugar, fodder, meat and poultry.

Dr. Al-Qasabi noted that the price hike differs between each country, pointing out that there are commodities in Saudi Arabia whose price is lower than the neighboring countries.

"The production costs and global exports rose after recovery from the pandemic, and the high costs of imported goods caused them to rise locally," he said.

"Saudi Arabia is part of the world and is affected by global events, but the importance lies in how to face crises"

Dr. Al-Qasabi confirmed that they monitor 217 commodities daily, as they take all appropriate measures to confront any manipulation or exaggeration in prices.

The minister of commerce confirmed that the supervisory teams carried out more than 640,000 operations to monitor the prices of goods, and 27,000 violations were monitored, stressing that violators have been held accountable.

He also stressed the existence of a food security committee that constantly monitors the availability of commodities, in addition to mechanisms to confront crises.

The minister of commerce stated during the press conference that the Kingdom's leadership felt the impact of the global repercussions on the food and basic commodities prices, which through this crisis, it had recently issued the approval based on what Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman presented with an aid package to support deserving families to face the prices hike.

It is noteworthy that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman issued on Monday a royal order approving an allocation of SR20 billion to face rising global prices, including SR10 billion for beneficiaries of social security and the Citizen Account Program.

The Crown Prince Mohammed had stressed earlier the need to take into account the neediest citizens in the face of international developments that resulted in rising costs of some basic needs.

He affirmed the important roles of ministries and government agencies concerning with monitoring international developments related to supply chains, monitoring markets, product availability, price levels, protecting and encouraging fair competition, and combating and preventing monopolistic practices that affect legitimate competition and the interests of the consumer.

At the conclusion of the press conference, Dr. Al-Qasabi called on everyone to cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce and report any price manipulation, by calling 1900.