ISET

The average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian Khachapuri in May 2020 stood at 4.18 GEL; 6.8% lower month-on-month compared to April. However, the Khachapuri Index did increase by 24.9% year-on-year (compared to May 2019). At this time of the year, the monthly downward trend in the Index is typically driven by a seasonal decline in cheese prices (due to the increased supply of fresh milk and a resulting lower demand for imported milk powder).

However, while such seasonal factors explain the MoM decline in the Index, they do not account for its YoY increase. Taking a more detailed look at prices, all ingredients contributed to the YoY inflation in May: cheese (+41.9%), butter (+15.5%), flour (+14.1%), eggs (+12.4%), yeast (+10.4%), and milk (+4.8%). As the chart reveals, the price increases are particularly high for internationally traded commodities (butter) and those that use imported intermediate inputs in production (flour and milk).

The data behind the Khachapuri Index is ordinarily collected in open bazaars. However, given the coronavirus situation and the related recommendations, our researchers can no longer visit bazaars to collect data. To overcome this challenge, around the end of March 2020 we constructed a short online survey and asked our readers to fill out a questionnaire on the prices of khachapuri ingredients observed in bazaars from various Georgian cities.

The data obtained show that the average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian khachapuri reached 4.45 GEL in March 2020. The price jumped by 2.2% month-on-month (compared to February 2020), and by 26.6% year-on-year (compared to March 2019).

The Khachapuri Index reached a new historical high in February 2020. The Index continued its upward trend, reaching an average cost of 4.35 lari in February 2020. This is 1.3% higher than in January 2020 (m/m) and 22.9% higher when compared to February 2019 (y/y). The main contributors to the Khachapuri Index’s inflation since last year were cheese (36.5%) and flour (10.7%). Furthermore, as shown in the chart, the year-on-year price of all khachapuri ingredients—milk (3.7%), butter (2.5%), eggs (6.6%), and yeast (8%)—rose compared to February 2019.

In January 2020, the cost of cooking one standard Imeretian khachapuri continued to increase, ranging from 4.21 GEL (Kutaisi) to 4.38 GEL (Batumi), with the average cost being 4.30 GEL. The new average price is 18.3% higher than the price in January 2019. While in month-on-month development, the khachapuri price is 0.7% higher than December 2019.

The yearly price increase is driven largely by the deprecation of the Georgian lari against the US dollar. The GEL/USD exchange rate reached 2.88, 0.22 points higher than the previous year (January 2019). The depreciation of the lari also put upward pressure on the price of imported khachapuri ingredients, such as imported milk powder (a fresh milk substitute), butter, and wheat.

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