EghtesadOnline: The retail price of tomato paste during the month ending Dec. 21 increased by 248.7% compared with the same period of last year.
A kilogram of tomato paste went for 190,137 rials ($1.6) in the ninth Iranian month and registered the highest year-on-year price rise for a food item, the Statistical Center of reported.
Iran has abundant crops of tomatoes, which allows processing industries to sufficiently meet domestic demand for the food item used in many Persian dishes. However, excessive exports of tomatoes and tomato paste, especially to Iraq, amid the depreciation of Iran's local currency led to their shortage in local markets.
In response, the government initially placed a ban on their exports with the exception of tomatoes grown in greenhouses as well as on tomato paste. Shopkeepers expected to see the export ban turn things around, but an industry representative said tomatoes were being smuggled abroad, according to Financial Tribune.
“We have heard that trucks full of tomatoes are still leaving the country, especially to Iraq,” Mohammad Mir-Razavi, the head of the Syndicate of Canning Industry, told Reuters.
“They put boxes of greenhouse tomatoes on top and hide normal tomatoes at the bottom,” he said, referring to the exploitation of the exemption for hot-house grown tomatoes.
The ban has been recently lifted, meaning the domestic supply is likely to fall further short of demand, leading to bigger price hikes.
The second and third biggest year-on-year price rises during the month among food items were registered for bananas and apples with 156.4% and 111%, respectively.
A kilogram of bananas was sold at 127,063 rials ($1.1) and a kilogram of apples went for 79,527 rials (71 cents).
Tomato prices rose 15.9% compared with the month before, the highest month-on-month price rise among food items.
The second and third biggest month-on-month price rises were recorded for onions with 15.8% and apples with 9.5%.
There was no price decline for food items in Azar compared with the same month of last year, but the prices of oranges decreased by 14% compared with the month before.
A kilogram of oranges were sold at 48,315 rials (43 cents).
The Consumer Price Index of “Food and Beverages” (using the Iranian year to March 2017 as the base year) stood at 174.5 in Azar, indicating a 5.1% rise compared with the previous month.
The “Food and Beverages” index registered a year-on-year increase of 51.9% compared with the similar month of last year.
The CPI of “Food and Beverages” group in the 12-month period ending Dec. 21 increased by 23.1% compared with last year’s corresponding period, SCI reported.
Overall, the goods and services Consumer Price Index registered a year-on-year increase of 37.4% in Azar compared with the similar month of last year. CPI stood at 151.7 for the month, indicating a 2.6% rise compared with the previous month.
The CPI Index in the 12-month period ending Dec. 21 increased by 18% compared with last year’s corresponding period.
SCI had put the inflation rate for the preceding Iranian month, which ended on Nov. 21, at 15.6%.
The center put average 12-month urban and rural inflation for the month at 18%. The overall CPI reached 151 for urban households and 155.3 for rural households, indicating an increase of 2.5% and 3% respectively compared with the previous month.
The index registered a year-on-year increase of 36.9% for urban areas and 39.9% for rural areas compared with the similar month of last year.