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Libya Cash & Market WG - Libya Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI) - March2018 Factsheet

Subject/Objective: 
In an effort to better understand market dynamics in Libya, the Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI) was initiated by the Libya Cash & Markets Working Group (CMWG) in June 2017. The initiative is guided by the CMWG Markets Taskforce, led by REACH and supported by the CMWG members. It is co-funded by OFDA and UNHCR. Markets in key urban areas across Libya are assessed on a monthly basis. In each location, field teams record prices and availability of basic food and non-food items (NFI) sold in local shops and markets. This factsheet presents an overview of price ranges and medians for key foods and NFIs in the assessed areas. The cleaned data sets are available on the REACH Resource Centre and distributed to CMWG partners, as well as to the broader humanitarian community. In future rounds, the factsheet will include a Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB), which represents the minimum culturally adjusted group of items required to support a Libyan household for one month. The prices associated with the MEB will illustrate variations in prices across assessed locations. The MEB will be included once it has been agreed upon by all partners.
Methodology: 
Data collection for the JMMI occurs on a monthly basis, with factsheets and datasets published and distributed after every round. The tenth round of data collection was conducted between 1 and 7 March 2018, during which enumerators from 5 CMWG partners (ACTED, DRC, Mercy Corps, WFP & REACH) gathered price data for 33 basic items from 360 shops in 28 locations. Field staff familiar with the local market conditions identified shops representative of the general price level in their respective location. Assessed shops include supermarkets, bakeries, vegetable sellers and butchers, as well as central markets. At least four prices per assessed item were collected within each location. In line with the purpose of the JMMI, only the price of the cheapest available brand was recorded for each item. Enumerators were trained on methodology and tools by REACH. Data collection was conducted through the KoBo mobile application. Following data collection, REACH compiled and cleaned all partner data, normalising prices and cross-checking outliers.
Key findings: 
Libyan dinar stable after major swings The value of the Libyan dinar has reached an equilibrium since late February, following two months of instability during which parallel-market exchange rates nearly halved before rebounding partway. On 1 March, 1 US dollar could be obtained on the parallel market for 6.340 LYD, a figure that would remain stable for most of the month. At that point, the USD/LYD exchange rate had risen 59% from its lowest point on 26 January, but remained 34% lower than its peak on 3 December 2017. The previous drop in parallel-market exchange rates was attributed in part to the Central Bank of Libya (CBL)’s January announcement that each Libyan household would be eligible to access 500 USD at the official exchange rate, which led to a flood of dollars being re-exchanged for dinars on the parallel market. By March, this process, and the exchange rate fluctuations it created, had slowed somewhat. Recent increases in oil production, which have helped Libya slowly replenish its stocks of foreign currency and strengthen the dinar, were partly offset in February and March by protests and other disruptions to production. Changes in food prices Markets in some areas of Libya have reacted more readily than others to recent movements in the exchange rate. In markets near Tripoli that have been continuously assessed since January (Gharyan, Tarhuna, Zliten, Bani Walid and Tripoli itself), food prices plunged by 23-30% from January to February, then climbed by 10-15% from February to March, trends that roadly followed parallel-market exchange rates in Tripoli. In the east, insulated from CBL actions in Tripoli by distance and the presence of a rival Central Bank, the swings in food prices were smaller: a drop of 14.1% from January to February, and a rise of 3.4% from February to March. Finally, while the remote south was also affected, the changes were smaller in magnitude and lagged behind those in the west and east; between February and March, food prices continued to fall. Across Libya, the median prices for most monitored food items either decreased or remained steady in March, with the main exceptions being tomatoes, eggs and black tea, all up by 13-14%. Changes in NFI prices NFI prices reacted similarly to exchange rate movements, though because many NFIs have a long shelf life, traders tend to keep larger stocks on hand. Thus, the effects of changes in the exchange rate tend to lag significantly. In both the west and the east, large NFI price decreases from January to February (–14.7% and –8.9% respectively) were followed by much smaller decreases in March (–0.4% and –0.9%). Meanwhile,in the south, NFI prices only began to fall in March (–17.2%).
Assessment Report: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Publicly Available
Contact(s): 
Charlie Rapoport
rapop@unhcr.org
Webspace(s): 
Assessment Date(s): 
01 Mar 2018 to 07 Mar 2018
Frequency: 
Monthly
Status: 
Report completed
Population Type(s): 
All affected population
Cluster(s)/Sector(s): 
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
REACH Initiative
Participating Organization(s): 
Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
Danish Refugee Council
Mercy Corps
World Food Programme
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Location(s): 
Libya
Theme(s): 
Cash Transfer Programming
Market Assessment