March 25, 2019
The price of onions has increased fourfold in a matter of weeks in Iran, reaching to almost one U.S. dollar per kilo (based on free market exchange rates).
Onion is an important part of the food basket for working class Iranians, who earn around $100-130 a month. The price for more expensive foods, such as meat is ten times higher than onions and already beyond the reach of workers.
Local media reports that in recent days supply of onions in stores dwindled and the price skyrocketed.
The chairman of fruit and vegetable distributors union has blamed exports for lack of onions on the local market. Recently, media reported the same about meat supplies, as slaughter animals are exported, leaving the Iranian retail market with shortages and long lines.
As the Iranian currency has lost value against the dollar, it is often more lucrative to export a local product, or even re-export a subsidized import, than sell locally.
The government has tried to clamp down on speculators and traders, arresting dozens and even executing a few, who are after additional profits, but market forces prove to be stronger.