The prices of several key food products and fuel have risen significantly in Armenia following the sharp depreciation of the national currency, the dram, RFE/RL reports.
The dram’s sudden drop immediately pushed up the retail prices of petrol and mainly imported foodstuffs such as cooking oil, sugar, butter and rice. In some grocery stores in Yerevan food prices were up by over 20 percent.
The exchange rate fluctuation also affected the prices of cigarettes and medicines. Some drug stores in Yerevan remain closed on Wednesday while others opened with new price tags.
The price rises were downplayed by Armenia’s State Commission on Protection of Economic Competition (SCPEC). Its chairman, Ashot Shahnazarian, said the regulatory body has inspected shops in central Yerevan and found that the cost of some food products rose by up to 12 percent.
Although the price of bread has risen by up to 50 drams in some shops in Yerevan Shahnazarian claimed no ‘instances of bread getting expensive” had been recorded by his commission and advised people to ‘look for bread in a shop where price for bread has not gone up’. The head of SCPEC also warned shopkeepers and suppliers against ‘unfounded price rises’, saying the commission will go after them.
Meanwhile, the head of “PolitEconomy” research institute Andranik Tevanyan has been asking “why where the state reserves wasted” if the CBA officials knew they’d let the dram’s rate loose so soon, saying the prosecutor should look into the waste of $31 million on Monday and over $360 million lost overall in attempts to control the AMD rate.