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Cablegate: Gon Reports Slightly Lower Consumer Prices for July

VZCZCXYZ0023
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNM #0883 2330816
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210816Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2815

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000883

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, BACHMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON SOCI NG
SUBJECT: GON REPORTS SLIGHTLY LOWER CONSUMER PRICES FOR JULY


1. While popular concern and civil society protest over the
cost of various consumer items - ranging from public water
and electricity to cell phone rates and gasoline - remained a
salient political issue over the last month, the Government
of Niger's (GON) Institut National de la Statistique (INS)
reported a slight decline in consumer prices during the month
of July. Using a standardized index of consumer prices (IHPC)
to judge costs in the city of Niamey, the INS reported that
prices for its basket of standard consumer goods declined by
0.2% in July, after rising by 1.2% in June. Over the last
twelve months, the INS reported that the country's average
inflation rate was 3.7%, or 0.7% higher than the West African
Economic and Monetary Union's recommended ceiling of 3.0%.
However, INS also noted that the June and July 2006 inflation
rates were, respectively, 1.2% and 2.4% lower than the rates
for the same months in 2005.

2. The INS attributed July's changes to declining prices for
two basket items: clothing and shoes, the prices of which
fell by 2.7%; and, housing, water, electricity, gas, and
other fuels, the prices of which fell by 0.6%. Buyers and
sellers of Nigerien dietary staples likewise saw modest price
fluctuations, unlike the rapid market price increases
documented during last year's food crisis. The overall price
of cereals declined by 0.1% in July. Millet's price per bag
increased from 16,963 CFA ($33.00) in June to 17,219 in July,
while 50 kg sacs of rice increased in price from 15,306 to
15,409 CFA ($30.00). Corn and sorghum prices fell,
respectively, by 4.4% and 0.9%. One-hundred kg bags of either
could be had for approximately $30.00. The price of gasoline,
a key source of popular complaint of late, remained stable.
ALLEN

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