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Prices for food, drinks dropped in March-UBOS

Food prices were lower before the partial shutdown due to coronavirus according to UBOS data collected between February 15, 2020, to March 15, 2020.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ugandans paid less for food and non-alcoholic drinks like juices and soda in March compared to what was paid in February. This is according to the Uganda Bureau of Statics (UBOS) has said.

UBOS’ consumer price index (CPI) for March 2020, which captures what ordinary people pay for different goods every month also notes that prices of tobacco, alcohol and narcotics were lower. All the drops were less than one percent.

It should be noted that the data to inform this analysis was collected between February 15, 2020, to March 15, 2020. This was before the government announced a partial shutdown of the economy that instigated panic buying and therefore a spike in prices of certain goods, including food and drinks.

For instance, while UBOS says fares for transport services expressed a fall in both February and March, the last two weeks of March showed an increase in fares as schools closed and people scrambled to return to villages anticipating a looming shutdown due to coronavirus.

The figures to give the true picture of COVID-19 panic buying will be highlighted in the April reporting. However, the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), published by Stanbic bank monthly, is expected to show falling confidence among businesses as COVID-19 impact takes a toll.

The March reporting shows prices for health services and pharmaceutical products remained unchanged from what was experienced in February.

Education, clothing and footwear experience an increase in prices precisely because the data capture part of the period when school children were heading back to school for the first term after the December holidays.

However, the increase was just less than one percent.

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