In an effort to inform cash-based interventions and better understand market dynamics in Libya, the Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI) was created by the Libya Cash & Markets Working Group (CMWG) in June 2017. The initiative is led by REACH and supported by the CMWG members. It is funded by the Office of U.S. Bureau of Humanitarian Assisstance (BHA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Markets in key urban areas across Libya are assessed on a monthly basis. In each location, field teams record prices and availability of basic food and non-food items (NFIs) sold in local shops and markets. This factsheet presents an overview of price ranges and medians for key food items and NFIs in the assessed areas, as well as the costs associated with key elements of the Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB).
REACH has also conducted analysis highlighting economic vulnerability for at-risk population groups that can be accessed through an interactive dashboard.
Field staff familiar with the local market conditions identified shops representative of the general price level in their respective locations.
At least four prices per assessed item were collected within each location. In line with the purpose of the JMMI, only the price of the cheapest available brand was recorded for each item.
Enumerators were trained on methodology and tools by REACH. Data collection was conducted through the KoBoCollect mobile application.
Following data collection, REACH compiled and cleaned all partner data, normalising prices, cross-checking outliers and calculating the median cost of the MEB in each assessed market.
Qualitative information is also gathered from local sources and economic experts through key informant (KI) interviews.
REACH has extracted prices on a daily basis from the website, "Open Souq" and conducted KI interviews with property market professionals to better understand the rental market in Libya.
More details are available in the Methodology section of the Appendix.
JMMI KEY FINDINGS & CONTEXT
The cost of the MEB decreased by 0.9% across Libya between March and April 2021 (see page 2). The MEB is 11.8% higher than pre-COVID-19 levels in March 2020. The cost of the MEB in Benghazi, Al Khums and Al Aziziya are all over 36% more expensive in April 2021 than March 2020.
Since the last price hike in February 2021, the prices of a number of imported goods began to fall towards pre-devaluation levels. From February - April 2021, milk prices have fallen by 10.2% and flour by 12.9%. This may be attributed to a large amount of letters of credit (LCs) being issued by the Central Bank of Libya since the 3rd of January and the parallel market USD/ LYD exchange rate remaining low. Consequently, importers are more likely to access foreign currency officially through LCs. The increased access to foreign currency has likely contributed to the decrease in its demand on the parallel market, keeping the parallel market USD/LYD exchange rate low. This may also contribute to lower prices of imported goods, as many importers do not have access to LCs and must resort to buying foreign currency on the parallel market.
Nonetheless, April 2021 vegetable oil prices remained to be 52.5% higher than pre-devaluation levels in December 2020. This may be attributed to global vegetable oil prices doubling in the past 12 months, due to global production deficit, low stocks and increased biofuel consumption. Low production may be due to COVID-19 restrictions affecting foreign workforce recruitment. All the while, the rise in biofuel consumption developed following the presidential election in the US, triggering fossil fuel refineries to switch to biofuel, consuming edible oil supplies.
From February - April 2021, paracetamol prices have increased by 34%, following a spike in COVID-19 cases in mid-March and early April (during the April JMMI data collection).
From 19th - 26th of April, authorities imposed a force majeure on Hariga oil field, reducing Libya's output by 280,000 barrels per day (bpd). This may have an effect on parallel market fuel prices, as it could inhibit oil refineries from receiving crude oil to produce fuel.