Consequences of Diesel Price Rise Starting to Emerge: INCREDIBLE 50-gr BREAD HITS THE MARKET! [Archives:2001/32/Front Page]

August 6 2001

At a time Yemenis thought that the pathetic loaf of bread that had suffered from consecutive shrinking ventures by bakers is to settle with its incredibly small size, they were amazed and shocked with yet a smaller version of bread, roughly 50 grams in weight. This was a direct effect of the increase of diesel prices from 10 rials per liter to 17. The increase resulted in an increase in the cost of transporting goods, including wheat and other foodstuffs, resulting in the increase in the price of wheat and hence affecting the price of bread.
The new size of the traditional loaf of bread is basically a little bit longer than a pen and can be held almost completely in one hand and swallowed in two bites. Incredibly enough, people continue to buy it, since they have no other choice. When asking a supermarket manager about this strange and unbelievable size he replies, “People had refused to buy the bigger 10-rial loafs and decided to go for the 5-rial ones. Whether you like it or not, this is the only size feasible for any baker in the city. You simply just can’t win them all.”
It is worth noting that wheat prices had jumped following the diesel price rise more than a week ago to over YR 2,000 from YR 1,800. It is expected that this will have an overall effect on all commodities. “Bread is life for us. If its price increases, then expect that all goods, no matter how far away they may seem from wheat, will also increase,” said a shop owner. Those developments are similar to, but slower in pace than those that occurred following the diesel price increase of 20% carried out by Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Iryani’s government in 1998. The first increase triggered public outrage and frustration unlike the current one, which seems to be insufficient to cause any public response.
Yemen continues to carry out a reform package that started in 1995 in cooperation with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. All the steps required by the package caused short-term damage to ordinary people, but are expected to have a fruitful outcome in the long-run.