Egypt says inflation has risen to 31.5 percent
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Egypt says inflation has risen to 31.5 percent

Citizens are bearing the brunt of a struggling economy and the government’s tough economic measures

In this Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 photo, a woman sells bread near the Tawfiqia market in downtown Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)
In this Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 photo, a woman sells bread near the Tawfiqia market in downtown Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)

CAIRO — Egypt’s statistics agency says inflation has risen to 31.5 percent with a spike in urban consumer prices in April.

The figure underscores how Egyptian citizens are bearing the brunt of a struggling economy and the government’s tough economic measures.

The state-run Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics says in its latest figures released on Wednesday that food prices spiked by 43.9% last month, compared to the same month last year.

Egypt’s inflation rate has been steadily rising since the country floated its currency in November to secure a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

It jumped from 14% to 20% in the first month of floatation and continued to soar, with the pound losing half its value, plunging to around 18 to the dollar.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi delivers a speech during a meeting with Pope Francis in the capital Cairo on April 28, 2017 (AFP/Andreas Solaro)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech during a meeting with Pope Francis in the capital Cairo on April 28, 2017 (AFP/Andreas Solaro)

Rising prices present a challenge for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has promised economic reforms to lower fuel and electricity costs.

“Everything is so expensive. We can’t afford to eat. I don’t know what to buy,” said Baheega Mostaf to Reuters while shopping for food. “I voted for Sissi. Unfortunately. I regret it very much.”

An International Monetary Fund delegation is currently in Cairo to review Egypt’s progress with Sissi’s reforms. The visit is a condition for the distribution of a second installment of loans from the IMF in June.

Lowering inflation will be critical in sustaining Egypt’s economic reforms, but it is unclear how Sissi will be able to curb prices in the long term.

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