The Egyptians calculate the economic crises at the price of meat and chicken breasts. Gold and dollars are not available to everyone.
Cairo- Walking in the Cairo markets a few days before the reception of the blessed month of Ramadan, is a joy that is not matched by any of the joys of life, because of the passage through the shops that were decorated with various forms of Ramadan decorations, and the types of yamish (dates, nuts and dried fruits), and the sacrifices that filled the entrances of the narrow lanes, in preparation For seasons of storage and distribution. However, this year the winds did not bring what ships or souls desired, as they narrowed the Egyptians, and when their rings became tight, the dollar rose and narrowed even more.
On Tuesday, March 21st, the Egyptian pound fell against the dollar. The drop, which was talked about by the television programs the night before, did not happen once, but it continued throughout the day, bringing the price of the dollar to 18.54 pounds, after it was 15.65 in the morning of the same day.
The goods in the markets are stagnant and no one can buy them, and the womb is the distinguishing mark of most faces, and the words of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are repeated on television: “Pray to God that he frees us.”
Cairo markets without customers
On Hamzawy Street, one of the most famous markets in Old Cairo for wholesale and retail trade, the place at this time of year was packed with sellers and buyers.
Ramadan merchandise, the trade of spices and fodder, and bags of rice and pasta of all kinds and shapes, were loaded onto transport vehicles in preparation for the tables of the Most Merciful, despite the economic crises that the world has experienced recently, since what Covid-19 did to the conditions of the global economy, but Al Hamzawi Street did not pass for days Worse than the ones you are going through now, as Hajj Mahmoud – one of the market traders – told Al Jazeera Net: “This is not the case for the Ramadan season, which we have been accustomed to throughout our lives. For the first time we see the crowded market throughout the year suffering from recession in one of its most important seasons.”
For 50 years, Hajj Mahmoud has been in the family shop, his inheritance from his father, and his inheritance to his sons after him. The man in his seventies sells groceries, Ramadan yamish and perfumes, like other merchants, but he is a good follower of political news in the daily newspapers and television programmes.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Hajj Mahmoud has been analyzing the matter in a way that surprised many of his merchant neighbors, as he assured them that things would turn upside down overnight, and that the matter would not stop at a temporary and emergency increase, but things would get worse.
Hajj Mahmoud says that he and other common people know that the impact of the Russian war is not only on Egypt, and that the crisis will affect everyone, but he confirms to Al-Jazeera Net, “We are not like everyone, we are waiting for God’s relief in the seasons, and the entry of the season this year was not the same as the expected joy.”
black pepper coin gauge
The Egyptians calculate the economic crises at the price of meat and chicken breasts. Gold and the dollar are not available to everyone, but as soon as the price of “bani” (boneless chicken breasts) rises to more than 100 pounds, here the citizen is worried.
As for the Hamzawy market, there is another measure of crises, based on the price of black pepper, which in early March reached 80 pounds, to witness an unprecedented rise last Monday, reaching 100 pounds per kilogram ($ 5.39).
In the al-Atara market, some of its merchants decided to fix the price at around 90 pounds per kilogram. The citizen who comes to buy his needs from the cheapest place in Egypt will not bear this increase once.
Yamish prices doubled last year
The price increase for Yamish Ramadan has more than doubled from last year, and the Syrian “Qamar al-Din” scored 50 pounds ($2.70) for the package called “the roll”, while the Egyptian recorded 35 pounds ($1.89) for the first class. The rest of the species range between 30 and 25 in minimum supply. The price of apricots (dried apricots) and prunes (dried plums) range between 180 and 200 pounds ($9.71-10.79), and raisins and coconuts are 80 pounds per kilogram ($4.31).
As for nuts of all kinds, they cost 200 pounds per kilogram ($10.79), and cashews reached 560 pounds ($30.20), while some Egyptians prefer to buy peanuts, and the color of pistachio nuts to mix with crushed beans, to give a different Shami flavor to their Ramadan sweets.
Anyway, I’m back, Eid
In Hamzawi’s narrow shops, the woman with the brown cloak and veil, whose dark black mixed with the color of the dirt, looks around, in reference to her trouble – and she is over fifty – and asks about the cheapest types of dates and dates, because she will not be able to buy tamarind seeds this year. She came alone this year, after she was used to accompanying her husband to buy Ramadan necessities, but he told her that it was not worth this year, and an additional daily wage at his work, they are more deserving of her, as she described it. Therefore, she went alone to buy dates and what she could not be patient with. As for the rest, God has to manage it.
The woman, who refused to reveal her name, says to Al-Jazeera Net, “My husband works on a daily basis? We do not have a job whose salary will increase, and we do not have people to rely on if money, they are also their situation as we are. Only 3 of the children are supported by the husband and taken care of by the mother who forgot in the crowd of worries that March 21 is Mother’s Day, she smiles while tasting dates, “I don’t want a gift… I want to eat them.”
Traders are not the reason for the increase
In the cramped shop, a thirty-year-old Walid stands alone, selling the goods piled up in his father’s shop. At this time of the year, he used some assistants because the shop was crowded with customers, but the situation this year changed completely, there is no crowding or buying, and the customer entering the shop is an event that requires Walid more hospitality and patience in receiving the successive questions about the reason for raising the prices of perfumes and yams .
And about the reason why the price of cardamom on Hamzawy Street was affected by what is happening in Kyiv, Ukraine, the young man in his thirties told Al Jazeera Net, “People think that it is the merchants who raised prices without justification, and this is what is said on television day and night, but the truth that everyone knows is that prices It rose in the entire world, and it was not the merchants of Hamzawy Street who were the cause, but the world’s politicians and their ambitions,” he said.
Walid continued, “The prices of the products offered in the Welcome Ramadan markets of the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Supply are not at all different from the prices we sell at.” That and the importer is one?!”
A few days before the blessed month, the Egyptians do not care about the war of Russia and Ukraine, or the goals of NATO. What concerns them today is their daily sustenance, and perhaps their coming days, after the frightening rise in the price of the dollar against their local currency.