Lack of fuel caused a loss of car traders
Gaza – Mohammad Habib
The fuel crisis in Gaza has started to affect the prices of new cars which are supplied to Gaza through the smuggling tunnels and official crossings.
A number of car traders in Gaza said that the
lack of fuel and talks that the crisis will only worsen has created a recession of sorts in buying and selling cars.
"This crisis will end when the fuel crisis ends,” said a trader. However, if the crisis continues, dealers expect car prices to keep decreasing.
Hossam Badwan, a car trader, said the recession began two months ago before the fuel shortage became a major problem. However, the latest fall in prices was a result of the lack of fuel in the Gaza Strip. "The fall in prices is not too high, though this sector is suffering froming a downturn in general. The supply is greater than the demand," said Badwan.
The dealer attributed the problems to the high customs duties imposed by the government.
Osama Hammad, another car dealer, pointed to a state of decline in car trading. He owed this to the lack of the fuel pumped from Egypt. Hammad added that he changed his mind about selling a car that he had bought months earlier for $24, as the price offered to him was lesser than what he had paid.
"I expect an unprecedented decrease in the car prices, especially the new ones, however, this will just decrease the profit margin for the traders but will not lead to losses as the prices are high from the beginning,” said Hammad.
Walid Ramadan, also a dealer, confirmed the price decrease and said the dominant cause was the access of vehicles through tunnels from the Egyptian side.
Ramadan stated he imported all his cars legally through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
For his part, the head of the car dealers association in Gaza, Ismail al-Nakhala, said that if the fuel crisis continued, car prices would decrease significantly and traders would have to sell their cars at lower prices. He added that the price decrease began about three months ago as brand new cars were being transferred through tunnels from Egypt at the expense of the cars
entering legally through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
The head of the technical affairs in the ministry of transportation, Adnan Abu Oda, commented that the increase in supply and the lack of demand, was the reason behind the price reduction.
Oda also said that the Strip was receiving forty cars per week through Kerem Shalom from the Israeli side, which was not sufficient for the market demand; however the cars supplied through tunnels led to a decrease in prices.