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Steep rise in food prices continues

Aug 15, 2008 (DVB), The cost of food and basic commodities has continued to rise, with some estimating that goods have doubled in price since last year, while the government puts the increase at 40 percent.

A Rangoon merchant said the price of rice had doubled in the past year, and 1 peiktha of groundnut oil was now selling for 4900 kyat.

"Last year, the price of Pawsanhmwe [a good-quality brand of rice] was 800 kyat for one pyi , this year, it’s 1800," the merchant said.

A local housewife said she had noticed a sharp increase in the price of food.

"Last year, you could go to the market with a 1000-kyat note but now you can’t buy anything with that," she said.

"One peiktha of chicken now costs about 10,000 kyat , last year, it was not more than 5000 kyat."

Economist Dr Khin Maung Nyo said the Burmese government had predicted a further rise in prices due to the devastating effects of Cyclone Nargis.

"A recent report released by the government after Nargis said that commodity prices had gone up by 37 percent and were estimated to climb to a 40-percent increase due to the expense of the relief effort," he said.

"Fuel prices had come up due to inflation, and the hike in fuel prices has its own knock-on effects."

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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