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Libya Cash & Market WG - Libya Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI) - April 2018 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 April round of data collection was conducted between 1 and 7 April 2018, during which enumerators from 5 CMWG partners (ACTED, DRC,Mercy Corps, WFP & REACH) gathered price data for 33 basic items from 378 shops in 29 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: 

Flour distribution issues in east Libya
Shortages of subsidised wheat flour have been reported in several east Libyan cities, including Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Al-Baydah and Tobruk. These stem from difficulties within the Price Stability Fund (PSF), the government entity tasked with supplying subsidised food items to the population, which in turn have been attributed to delays in receiving letters of credit from the Central Bank of Libya (CBL). The PSF’s supplies have been irregular since 2014, and its effects are generally confined to the east, as the PSF is largely non-functional in the west and south.
At the time of data collection, these shortages had resulted in a 12.5% month-on-month increase in the median price of wheat flour across eastern cities, from 2.000 to 2.250 LYD. Bread prices were mostly unaffected due to strict price controls, though bakeries were showing signs of strain. The lack of subsidised flour forced them to purchase flour from more expensive privately operated mills, which hit smaller bakeries hardest due to their difficulty buying in bulk.
To continue operating while maintaining the mandated price of bread, bakery owners reportedly compensated in various ways. Some stopped producing certain varieties of bread, and others began to bake smaller loaves for sale at the same price. In Ajdabiya in particular, some bakeries reportedly suspended their operations as they waited to regain access to subsidised flour.
Exchange rate movements and food price changes
Following several months of volatility, major exchange rates for the Libyan dinar have remained steady since late February, with the parallel-market USD/LYD rate dropping by 1.3% since March (6.340 to 6.260 LYD).
Since early 2018, changes in food prices have corresponded closely with movements in the major parallel-market exchange rates. Hence, stable exchange rates between March and April led to a relatively small month-on-month change in the median food price index (median of +3.3% overall). The largest changes were to the median prices of tomatoes (+38%),milk (+21%) and flour (+12.5%).
NFI price changes
NFI prices also followed parallel-market exchange rates, though with a lag, as stores tend to keep larger stocks of non-perishable NFIs and replenish them less frequently. In the west and east, small changes in the median NFI price index (–0.3% and +2.6%, respectively) were countered by a steep drop in the south (–14.1% since March and –25.3% since February). This drop mirrored the plunge in parallel-market exchange rates between December 2017 and January 2018, though with several months’ delay due in part to the south’s remoteness and the amount of time changes take to propagate.

Assessment Report: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Publicly Available
Operations(s)/Webspace(s): 
Assessment Date(s): 
01 May 2018 to 07 May 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 (ACTED)
Danish Refugee Council
Mercy Corps
World Food Programme
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Location(s): 
Libya
Theme(s): 
Cash Transfer Programming
Market Assessment