Sunday, July 13, 2008

Abu Dhabi launches index to monitor prices of commodities

Abu Dhabi launches index to monitor prices of commodities
Staff Report GULF NEWS Published: July 12, 2008, 23:18

Dubai: As part of enhancing consumer awareness the Department of Planning and Economy in Abu Dhabi has launched an index to monitor price trends of essential commodities.

The index, prepared by the statistics unit of the Department of Planning and Economy, will be a regular index to monitor prices trends by way of providing scientific and accurate data.

"To be published monthly at the initial stage and weekly later in the dailies, the index will contain commodity prices at major stores in Abu Dhabi. Justifications for any changes in the prices will also be featured in conjunction with consumer protection unit at the Department of Planning," DPE said in a statement.

The index has been constructed on data collected through a survey of family income and spending conducted in 2007. That study identified some 53 key items in the family consumption basket with food, beverages and tobacco accounting for a major share in the family spending in Abu Dhabi.

The consumption trends showed that items such as bread and cereals, beef and poultry products, fish, milk, cooking oil, vegetables, sugar, tea, coffee and other beverages topped the shopping baskets of Abu Dhabi families.

The index will be regularly updated and will be available at most of the outlets and stores in Abu Dhabi. "This will make access to price information easy for the general public. The next step would be to post this index on the website of the Department of Planning," the DPE said.

The information will be published in four sections. While the first section will show the list of commodities and their prices as per the outlet, section two will guide the consumer through the price list as well as indicate the nearest store to their residence.

Section three will give consumers access to highest and lowest price of an item at the outlet and section four will focus on electronic shopping, where viewers can shop through different outlets and then get an idea of the total tally of their shopping items.

DPE said it has plans to include a news bar on its website, showing commodity price trends. Apart from food, beverage, and tobacco, new price segments will be added based on the latest consumption trends in the emirate.

According to the study, the prices of essential commodities were generally stable at main outlets in Abu Dhabi during June. However, it observed that prices of agricultural products had dropped due to promotional prices being offered to consumers.

A notable exception was rice price which according to the DPE study went up because of factors such as the failure of importers to agree at a price with the Ministry of Economy, drop in supply because suppliers are responding to their local demands, crop failures in a number of countries and the use of rice as a biofuel input.

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