In January, the cost of cooking one standard Imeretian khachapuri continued to increase, ranging from 3.56 GEL (Batumi and Tbilisi) to 3.92 GEL (Kutaisi), with the average cost being 3.67 GEL. The new average price is 1.9% higher than the price in January 2016. As for month-to-month development, the price of khachapuri is 1.3% higher compared to the previous month (December 2016).
“The Arab Spring was a revolution of the hungry.” As stated by The Boston Globe’s journalist Thanassis Cambanis in his 2011 article claiming that in countries where access to food was an issue, “hitting the dinner table” is not a good idea. In order to demonstrate the importance of food prices, he went even further and reminded his readers that when food price inflation in Egypt reached almost 19%, the president of the country had to resign.
Unofficial (partial) dollarization describes a situation when a foreign currency is used alongside the domestic currency for transactions purposes and as a store value. High partial dollarization is not good for a country, as it ties the hands of its Central Bank when it wants to use monetary policy. In a highly dollarized economy, national currency depreciation can even lead to financial instability.
Shota Bakhuashvili of the Class of 2017 decided to apply for an MA research scholarship at the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation after listening to an encouraging speech by Professor Norberto Pignatti during a lecture. Shota was ultimately successful, winning 6000 lari that he will use for books, papers, and travel to attend conferences.
In the first half of January, Georgian retail food prices went up. Compared to mid-December, ISET’s Retail Food Price index experienced a significant 10.1% increase. Prices increased across key food commodities as a result of the holiday-related slump in demand. The Georgian lari depreciation applied additional upward pressure on the GEL prices of imported food products.