Imports going up in price after devaluation, vendors in Minsk say


The devaluation of the Belarusian rubel has driven up retail prices of imported goods, say small vendors in Minsk.

Imported coffee, tea, tanned food, vegetable oil, fish and fruits went up in price by 20 percent over the last week after the National Bank devalued the national currency by 20 percent on January 2, vendors at the Kamarowksi Rynak retail market told BelaPAN on Thursday.

Vendors dealing in Belarusian meat products said that their prices had slightly dropped ahead of New Year and had not increased by a single rubel afterward.

A vendor running a clothing retail unit at the nearby Lyusterka (Zerkalo) shopping center said that she had not yet raised prices but would do that for a "new collection."

At the Impuls shopping center, the cost of some household appliances jumped up by 20 percent on January 2.
A sales assistance at the TsUM department store said that people had rushed on January 2 to buy Belarusian refrigerators. "People were afraid that we would increase prices because of the rise in the dollar rate, but we have not yet revised them," she said, noting that prices had remained unchanged for both Belarusian and imported household appliances since December.

An assistance at a pharmacy kiosk said that prices were to rise for fresh supplies.

Iosif Rachytski, an official of the Minsk City Executive Committee's pricing department, told BelaPAN that the department had not monitored retail prices in the city after the devaluation.