Shop owner Hassan Mahmoud laid out his heaps of dried fruits and nuts at a multicolored Ramadan tent in the Egyptian capital to catch shoppers’ eyes for the holiday, like he does every year. Only this time, he said, “people aren’t buying.”
“Things get more expensive every year but this time it’s even worse because the dollar is higher,” Mahmoud said as he stood on a street full of similar stands bedecked with lanterns set up for the holy month that began June 6.
Annual inflation hit 12.23 percent in May — the highest level in seven years — driven partly by dollar appreciation. The economy has yet to recover from the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and the man charged with fixing it — President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi — has shown little tolerance for criticism.
The price hikes are particularly painful during Ramadan, when families traditionally break the dawn-to-dusk fast with lavish feasts.