Economy February 9, 2021 | 4:00 pm

“Expensive, everything is very expensive”

Santo Domingo, DR

Expensive, everything is expensive,” is how Dani Rivas, a merchant at the livestock fair, responded when asked about the main foodstuffs’ prices of the basic food basket.

This Monday, after a tour of markets and grocery stores in the Capital, business owners agreed that meats, eggs, and oil are the products that have experienced the most significant increase.

A half-gallon of oil used to sell for RD$190 is now sold at RD$250, for an increase of RD$60; the gallon and the “jumbo” container cost RD$420 and RD$725, respectively.

In the case of eggs, the merchants assured that since three months ago, the carton had become one of the most expensive staple products in the grocers and markets since from RD$90 or RD$100 it went to cost double, that is, RD$180 and RD$200.

“I had never sold eggs so expensive,” said Ramón Domínguez, a merchant in one of the stores around the Mercado Modelo.

The same perception was expressed by Alberto Vargas, who has been selling eggs at the livestock fair for 25 years and who said he regrets having to raise prices to his clientele.

A rise in meat prices

The chicken price, which reached RD$70 per pound last December, remains at the same value, except for some distribution posts on Mella Avenue, which sell it at RD$5 less.

Contrary to chicken meat, pork and beef “has not stopped rising,” and the sellers affirm that it will continue to rise due to the shortage of the product.

Ramón Hernández, owner of “El Verdadero Palacio de las Carnes” and who has 60 years on Avenida Mella, detailed that to obtain a pound of steak, citizens had to pay about RD$125 (US $2.15) at the beginning of January, RD$160 in the middle of the same month and currently it is sold at RD$185 (US $3.20).

“You come one day, and it is at one price, and the next day it costs you another, but more expensive. That is the reality,” the butcher pointed out while stressing that all pork and beef is increasing by at least RD$10 and RD$15 per week.

Hernandez also said that the pork used to sell at RD$70 and RD$75 a pound is the same that now costs RD$110 and RD$115.

Juan Pinales, a worker in a business adjoining Hernández’s, urged the authorities to encourage production to bring prices down.

Other increases
Products such as rice, potatoes, plantains, and bananas have increased in price by between three and five pesos.

Super select rice went from RD$26 to RD$29 and non-select rice from RD$23 to RD$25, while potatoes went up by RD$5 to RD$28.

In the case of the green guineo or “guineíto,” traders distribute it at RD$6 and RD$4 per unit, that is to say, that they have only increased RD$2.

Only two products have dropped in price.
In a scenario in which “everything goes up,” only two products break the trend, according to the data collected during the tour, they are onion and garlic.

Onion decreased from RD$70 to RD$35 per pound, while the pound of garlic, which had a cost of RD$200, was reduced by half, that is, RD$100 per pound.

Products such as rice, potatoes, plantains, and bananas have increased in price between RD$3 and RD$5.

Super select rice went from RD$26 to $29 and non-select rice from $23 to $25. Potatoes went up about $5 and are at RD$28.