Financial Tribune – The retail price of tomato paste during the Iranian month Mehr (ended Oct. 22) increased by 227.8% compared with the same period of last year.
A kilogram of tomato paste went for 171,765 rials ($1.16) in the seventh Iranian month, to register the highest year-on-year price rise for a food item, the Statistical Center of reported.
Iran has abundant crops of tomatoes, which allows processing industries to sufficiently meet domestic demand for the food item widely used in Persian cuisine. However, excessive exports of tomatoes and tomato paste in recent months, especially to Iraq, for increased profits amid depreciation of Iran’s local currency led to their shortages in domestic markets.
In response, the government recently placed a ban on their exports with the exception of tomatoes grown in greenhouses. Shopkeepers might expect to see the export ban turn things around, but an industry representative said tomatoes were being smuggled abroad.
“We have heard that trucks full of tomatoes are still leaving the country, especially to Iraq,” Mohammad Mir-Razavi, the head of the Syndicate of Canning Industry, told Reuters.
“They put boxes of greenhouse tomatoes on top and hide normal tomatoes at the bottom,” he said, referring to the exemption for hot-house tomatoes that left a loophole.
The second and third biggest year-on-year price rises in Mehr among food items were registered for bananas and tomatoes with 168.2% and 147.4%, respectively.
A kilogram of bananas was sold at 114,652 rials (77 cents) and a kilogram of tomatoes went for 44,224 rials (30 cents).
The Iranian month Mehr also saw prices of tomato paste rise by 89.7% compared with the month before—the highest month-on-month price rise among food items.
The second and third biggest month-on-month price rise during the period under review was recorded for potatoes with 46.1% and tomato with 40.5%.
There was no year-on-year price decrease for food items in Mehr, but the prices of oranges and apples decreased by 32.9% and 4.4% compared with the month before, and so did prices of chicken and eggs by 4% and 2.1%, respectively.
A kilogram of oranges and apples were sold at 76,958 rials (52 cents) and 69,543 rials (47 cents) respectively.
According to the Statistical Center of Iran, the overall goods and services Consumer Price Index in Iran registered a year-on-year increase of 32.8% in the Iranian month Mehr compared with the similar month of last year.
The overall CPI (using the Iranian year to March 2017 as the base year) stood at 144.1 in Mehr, indicating a 7.1% rise compared with the previous month.
The CPI Index in the 12-month period ending Oct. 22 increased by 13.4% compared with last year’s corresponding period.
SCI had put the inflation rate for the preceding month (Shahrivar), which ended on Sept. 22, at 11.3%.
The center put average 12-month inflation for Mehr in urban and rural at 13.4% and 13% respectively. The overall CPI reached 143.6 for urban households and 146.8 for rural households, indicating an increase of 6.8% for urban areas and a rise of 8.3% for rural areas compared with the previous month.
The index registered a year-on-year increase of 32.4% for urban areas and 35.3% for rural areas compared with the similar month of last year.
The Consumer Price Index of “Food and Beverages” group (using the Iranian year to March 2017 as the base year) stood at 159.2 in Mehr, indicating an 8.1% rise compared with the previous month.
The “Food and Beverages” index registered a year-on-year increase of 45% compared with the similar month of last year.
The average CPI of “Food and Beverages” in the 12-month period ending Oct. 22 increased by 16.8% compared with last year’s corresponding period.