Egypt Faces Sugar Shortage Amid Economic Woes

A boat sails along the Nile River in Aswan, some 900 kilometres south of Cairo on March 13, 2016. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Times of Israel reports: The waters of the Nile River turned yellow this week. Some say they even turned brown. The heavy rains, which also hit Israel, caused powerful floods that carried tons of mud and other substances into the Nile, changing the water’s color and disrupting the supply of water to some residential areas.

For some, it was an omen of bad news — or, perhaps, a comment about the present situation in the most populous Arab nation.

The water problem is only one in a long list of problems Egyptians have faced in recent weeks, a list that includes a dire sugar shortage. Simply put, there is no sugar. The drop in supply caused the price of sugar to soar from three Egyptian pounds a kilo a few years ago to five several weeks back, and to 10 and even 12 Egyptian pounds in the past few days. The government decided this week to set the price of subsidized sugar at seven Egyptian pounds per kilogram, a 40-percent increase since just before the current crisis.

What’s causing the problem? It seems to be the result of a worldwide sugar shortage combined with the cessation of sugar imports from abroad and a work stoppage at several sugar processing plants in Egypt.

Sugar is a potent example of the many economic problems that plague Egypt. The steady — and, recently, dramatic — decline in the value of the Egyptian pound is having a strategic effect. The US dollar is trading at 17 to 18 Egyptian pounds; a week ago it was 15 to 16, and a month ago 13.

Read more here.


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