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New Year’s market stagnates

New Year’s spirit is always high and vibrant, but the holiday market seems to have gotten a bit slower and quieter. “Business is very slow” is a common complaint from basically everyone, from big companies to small shop owners; it is an unusually slow season.
As expected, the holiday market also reflects the slower movement of things as well as not so cheap goods. Food items that are a must for the holiday will, like live chickens and sheep along with butter, all come at a small fortune. During the holiday week, butter is being sold from 290 to 320 birr per Kilo.
During holidays it is a common scene to see herds of sheep and goats that are to be consumed for the holiday along with men carrying live chickens in neighborhoods. Although it is said the day before a holiday is the best time to buy sheep and chicken, as vendors usually get anxious to get rid of their stock and go home, there have been times that this has not been the case.
During the days leading up to the New Year, a small sheep was easily selling for 2,000 birr with a midsized sheep costing 2,500 and above. The delight of having a sheep continues to be out of reach for many during the holiday and those that cannot afford to spend that much will simply buy beef from the butchery to make a special meal.
Chicken, another holiday favorite is what many resort to, and for this holiday it is selling between 350 to 500 birr. As most people prefer to buy live chickens for religious and freshness reasons, processed frozen supermarket chickens still remain cheaper. It’s not all about meat, vegetables remain as important during the holiday. Although not a lot of change has been seen with vegetables lately, some items such as garlic which skyrocketed around two years ago, hasn’t shown any difference. Garlic is sold for 120 birr per kilo, red onions which are extremely important for most holiday meals are sold for 20 birr per kilo.
The above prices are usually found in open markets, prices at smaller fruit and vegetable kiosks around the city will be higher. As always, in some markets, shoppers will be able to get discounts if they are buying in bulk.
While it is always fun to go visit holiday expos at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center; with all the excited crowds, music and food, the shopping experience might be less that fun.
Especially looking at imported items such as clothing, household items, accessories and house wear, they all have hiked up prices and the most common reason for this unfair pricing is the fact that the exchange rate of the dollar has increased, making imported goods more expensive. Although that might be true for some things, vendors are also taking advantage of the situation. The expo, however, remains a really good place to buy locally produced items such as leather products like shoes and bags, and cooking oil, or spices for Ethiopian dishes, as well as pasta and cultural wear.
“The holiday market always increases; none of the items has decreased once the market hikes, the prices of butter, eggs, vegetables, red pepper powder and onions have shown a slight increase,” an early shopper says.


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