Economy

Video: Panic Buying Reported in Tehran as Prices of Four Basic Food Items Rise

May 12, 2022
IranWire
2 min read
A video purporting to show scuffles over cooking oil at the Etka shopping center in Tehran on Thursday
A video purporting to show scuffles over cooking oil at the Etka shopping center in Tehran on Thursday

The Raisi administration on Thursday announced price increases for four staple foodstuffs in Iran: chicken, eggs, cooking oil and dairy products. The news was met with near-instantaneous reports of shortages and people crowding into stores to stock up on the affected goods.

The approved price for a kilogram of chicken has increased from 30,500 tomans (about a dollar: a significant amount of money in Iran, and already a 21 percent increase on the year before to about 60,000 tomans (US$1.90).

Eggs, the price of which increased by 53 percent to 25,000 tomans ($0.81) last year, will now cost 40,000 ($1.30). An 810-gram bottle of sunflower oil will now be priced at 63,000 tomans ($2) and a package of cheese costs 38,000 ($1.23).

The eye-watering price hikes came hot on the heels of the government announcing plans to scrap the so-called preferential exchange rate of 4,200 tomans to the dollar, and to phase out food subsidies. Flour subsidies came to an end about a fortnight ago, leading to soaring bread and pasta prices, hoarding by some businesses and early protests in Khuzestan

On Thursday afternoon several Iranian social media users posted videos purporting to show panic-buying at food stores in the country. One of them, filmed at the Etka shopping center in Tehran, showed citizens rushing to the vegetable oil shelves in a frantic bid to secure some themselves.

IRNA News Agency published an article insisting the situation was "calm". Under a picture of a well-stocked store that was at least a month old, the state-run outlet reported that only oil and chicken were "facing a decrease in supply" in some parts of Iran "due to increased demand and excessive purchase by the people".

The news agency also reported the use of 9,500 Basijis to "assist the government and inspect across the country."

Rising inflation and a steady increase in the prices of various goods have provoked protests in various cities, especially in Khuzestan province, and the Internet in this province and then throughout Iran was disrupted.

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