According to a Consumer Protection Commision (CPC) poll, some retail shops have begun lowering basic commodity prices by up to 5% in reaction to the Zimbabwe dollar’s continuous strengthening.
The CPC has been watching retail pricing changes to determine the market’s reaction to the strengthening of the local currency.
Previously, the consumer watchdog set a “base price” for a basket of major basic goods to assess whether businesses would increase their pricing in response to currency fluctuations.
Despite the local unit making substantial gains on both the official and black markets over the last month, most retailers had maintained the same prices, a practice officials believe is a form of price manipulation.
Major retailers have marginally reduced their prices and are now offering consumers a variety of payment options. The commission’s preliminary market surveillance report shows that the prices of basic goods have decreased slightly, averaging 5 percent, against an expected drop of 20 percent, to be in line with the movement of the Zimbabwe dollar.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail, Consumer Protection Commission chairperson Dr Mthokozisi Nkosi said:
Major retail outlets are displaying the reduced rates on a daily basis and giving the consumer (a variety of) payment choices.
There has been a slight decrease of prices in Zimbabwe dollar terms, averaging 5 percent, against an expected drop of 20 percent, to be in line with the movement of the Zimdollar.
Shops were moving with speed to implement price hikes following depreciation of the Zimdollar, but we don’t see the same speed in reducing prices as the dollar appreciates.
However, the commission is disturbed by an emerging trend where retailers are arbitrarily increasing their US dollar prices.
The commission is soon going to engage the business community and sector associations to understand the reasons behind the sudden increase of prices in US dollar terms.
The local currency is expected to continue to stabilise in the short term, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya.
© ZiMetro News