Libya

Libya Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI), 8 - 20 August 2020

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INTRODUCTION

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. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) 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). A detailed breakdown of the MEB can be found on page .

KEY FINDINGS

• Despite overall food prices decreasing across Libya, the cost of the MEB increased by 3.0% from July - August 2020, due to price increases for fuel and hygiene items. Prices have failed to fall back to pre-COVID-19 levels, as the August MEB is still 19.2% more expensive than March 2020.

• Between July and August 2020, the south of Libya saw considerable price changes for essential items.
The price of chickpeas and beans increased by 66.7% and bottled water by 58.3%. The prices of salt, pasta, couscous have increased by 50%.
However, the overall price of the MEB in the south decreased as a result of the 36% drop in cooking fuel prices, which detracts 90 Libyan Dinar (LYD) from the southern MEB. According to KIs, the rising food prices in the south may be attributed to diesel fuel shortages, as vendors are increasingly dependent on fuel-powered generators to operate their businesses.
KIs reported that in the first week of September, the Federation of Bakery Owners organized a sitin to close bakeries for 3 days. Bakeries have since reopened and reportedly resumed business as usual.

• From July - August 2020, likely driven by price changes in west Libya, there was a spike in unofficial gasoline (+68.7%) and cooking fuel prices (+66.7%). According to KIs, widespread electricity cuts have driven an increased demand for fuel to power generators, in turn resulting in fuel price spikes and shortages. To mitigate the impacts of the power crisis, the eastern authorities have announced that they will partially lift the oil blockade to dispose of fuel and gas in storage facilities that will allow power stations to receive sufficient fuel and operate with a greater capacity.

• The LYD continued to depreciate against the U.S. Dollar (USD) and has lost 33.3% of its value from March - September 2020. This is likely to be attributed to a demise in crude oil exports, restricted foreign currency sales and a decline in global oil prices.2

• By August 2020, the food and hygiene proportion of the MEB in the east was 13.3% more expensive than in the west. The cost difference is unusual, as the MEB is ordinarlily cheaper in the east. This may be due to a recent decree allowing imports across the Libyan/ Tunisian land border without letters of credit (LoC). The intention of the decree is to keep the price of essential goods low, by allowing supplies to easily enter the country.3 COVID-19 • The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen from 182 on 4th June to 15,773 on 4th September and may have had implications on the price of key medicines and hygiene items.4 From June - August 2020, overthe-counter pharmaceutical items prices increased, such as parcetamol (8.3%) and ibuprofen (17.5%).
Furthermore, within the same time period, the price of hand sanitiser has increased by 54.7% and bleach by 23.3%. In south Libya, the epicentre of the COVID-19 crisis in Libya, prices for paracetamol and bleach increased by 140% and 79.5%, respectively.

• According to the preliminary analysis of the 2020 Libya Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA), 20% of Libyan households (HHs) reported that their main place of work had closed down as a result of COVID-19 measures. MSNA findings indicated regional differences, especially in the south, where the loss of livelihood opportunities was particularly commonly reported by HHs in Murzuq (78%), Sebha (74%), and Ubari (80%).5