Wheat is Becoming More Expensive, Again!

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The FINANCIAL — In January 2019, the cost of cooking one standard Imeretian khachapuri decreasedcomparatively both annual and monthly, ranging between 3.56 GEL (Tbilisi) and 3.70 GEL (Kutaisi), with anaverage cost of3.62 GEL. The new average price is 2.5% lower than in January 2018. As for the month-to-month development, the price of khachapuri is 3.5% lower compared to the previous month (December 2018).

The main ingredient in khachapuri is Imeretian cheese, and naturally, its price is the main driver behind fluctuations,and thus has recently pushed prices down. However, in January 2019, the price of flour increased by 1.1% month-on-month (compared to December 2018), and by 7.1% year-on-year (compared to January 2018). It is important to note that we only observe the price of high-quality wheat flour within four Georgian cities.

The results from our data are in line with international wheat price trends. While, FAO also reports increased cereal prices in January 2019, at7.3% above their January 2018 levels. While the main contributor for this increase is the price ofmaize and rice, the price of wheat also increased.Thisincrease wasderived from rising export quotations aroundthe Black Sea, where the aim was to tighten availabilityagainst steady foreign demand. Similarly, export prices were up in Argentina, causedby excessive rain during theharvest.

For 2019, FAOit is expected that wheat production will increase, indicatingmajor rebounds in the European Union and the Russian Federation.Therefore, increased wheat production will push prices down across international markets,and we should expect this price decrease to reachdomestic markets within the next few months.

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