Rising Import Costs Depress Local Market

Businesses in the northern province of Soghd are complaining that their trade has fallen away due to the international financial crisis.

Rising Import Costs Depress Local Market

Businesses in the northern province of Soghd are complaining that their trade has fallen away due to the international financial crisis.

Saturday, 14 February, 2009
Reporter Kamari Ahrorzoda discovered that most of the goods and foodstuffs on sale were imported at prices set in dollars, so the falling exchange rate of the Tajik somoni is making them unaffordable. Consumers seem to be limiting themselves to flour and cooking oil, not because they are exempt from inflation but because they are absolute necessities.



“We buy goods in dollars so we’re making a loss instead of a profit,” said one trader. “We are sitting here and there’s no trade.”



Apart from exchange rate issues, economist Muhammad Mahkamov notes that the downturn in the Russian labour market, where many Tajik migrants work, has meant that less money is being sent home, so Tajik families on average have less purchasing power.



“The influence of the international financial crisis on people’s lives is obvious,” said another economist, Kamil Toshev. “If you look at the market today, prices have increased several times over, yet the minimum wages has remained unchanged since last year.”



Another factor, say locals, is that fuel prices have also gone up, adding to household expenditure and increasing transport costs as an element of retail prices.

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