Food Price Fluctuations in Past, Present Gov’ts
EghtesadOnline: Changes in Iranians' purchasing power have been assessed between the fiscal March 2009-10 and March 2013-14, the first and final year of former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's term in office, as well as between March 2013-14 and March 2016-16, the first and third year of incumbent President Hassan Rouhani's tenure respectively.
The assessment, based on the Central Bank of Iran's data, has been made in line with changes in minimum wage and inflation, the Persian daily Iran reported.
In 2009-10, the minimum wage stood at 2.75 million rials (close to $73 at current exchange rate). To put things into perspective, with that amount one could purchase 26 kilograms of meat.
In 2013-14 when Ahmadinejad left office, the minimum wage was 4.9 million rials ($130) with which 15 kilos of meat could be purchased. At present, however, the minimum wage stands at 9.3 million rials ($246.7), which enables one to purchase 24 kilos of meat, according to Financial Tribune.
In 2009-10, a bottle of milk cost an average of 10,000 rials ($0.26) based on CBI figures. In 2013-14, the figure rose to 22,820 rials ($0.60), registering a 128% increase, which reduced the product's per capita consumption. This is while in 2016-17, the same product cost 28,970 rials ($0.79), indicating a 27% increase compared to 2013-14.
Pasteurized yogurt was priced at 11,000 rials ($0.29) in 2009-10. In 2013-14, the product cost 24,100 rials (nearly $0.64), indicating a 119% rise. Following a 44% growth, the figure stood at 34,710 rials ($0.92) in 2016-17.
Increases in beef and lamb meat prices too reached a record high while the previous government was in office.
A kilo of beef and lamb meat cost 97,940 rials ($2.49) and 132,250 rials ($3.50) respectively in 2009-10. The former experienced a 214% upsurge to reach 308,500 rials ($8.18) and the latter a 125% increase to stand at 298,790 rials ($7.93) in 2013-14.
Under Rouhani, beef and lamb prices experienced a 19% and 42% growth respectively.
A kilo of chicken was priced at 22,650 rials ($0.60) in 2009-10. Yet, the figure grew by 180% to reach 63,400 rials ($1.68) by the end of Ahmadinejad's tenure. Under Rouhani, chicken prices increased by only 6% to stand at 67,510 rials ($1.79) in 2016-17.
High quality rice was priced at 30,680 rials ($0.81) per kilo in 2009-10. After a 141% hike, it reached 73,850 rials ($1.96) in 2013-14. Under Rouhani, the figure rose by 70% to stand at 125,850 last year.
Tea and vegetable oil prices grew 222% and 161% respectively over the four years of Ahmadinejad's presidency, while in 2016-17 the figures increased by 38% and 15% respectively compared with 2013-14.
One could purchase a kilo of potatoes with 3,650 rials ($0.001) in 2009-10. In 2013-14, potatoes were sold at 19,000 rials ($0.50) per kilo–a 420% upsurge. Last year, potatoes cost 22,000 rials ($0.58), indicating a 15% rise compared with 2013-14.
During the previous administration, tomatoes and oranges saw a 213% and 239% hike in prices respectively, whereas under Rouhani, the price of tomato rose by 53% and that of oranges by 6%.
A point-to-point inflation of 45% was handed to Rouhani in June 2013 by the former administration. In a four-month period after the presidential election, by lowering the inflation to below 40% in September 2013, Rouhani proved he had put in all efforts to win the battle against alarming price indices.
After one year, the government was able to cut inflation to half. An inflation of lower than 20% was registered for September 2014. The rate kept declining to settle at 15% in 2015.
Iran’s inflation rate went below 10% for the rolling year ending June 20. This was the first time the country was experiencing single-digit inflation in about a quarter century.
The central bank’s latest data on CPI show the goods and services CPI for urban areas in the 12 months to April 20 increased 9.5% compared with last year’s corresponding period.
The turmoil in the market back when Ahmadinejad was in office was also partly due to the government's incapability in controlling the foreign exchange rates. In 2009-10, one US dollar was exchanged for 10,000 rials. In 2012-13, the exchange rate rose to 39,800 rials per dollar, registering a 300% hike that adversely impacted all economic activities and sectors.
This is while during 2013-17, the exchange rate fluctuated between 35,800 and 37,000 rials, registering an average growth of 3%.