February 2022: The price of palaw reached 77 manat
In February 2022, the average cost of cooking palaw in Ashgabat was 77.4 Turkmen manat, which is 9.7% cheaper month-on-month compared to January 2022 (85.7 manat) and 20% more expensive year-on-year compared to February 2021 (64.5 manat).
In February 2022, on an annual basis, prices for carrots and cooking oil decreased by 51% and 0.3% respectively. Meanwhile, prices have gone up for all the other ingredients of palaw: beef (53%), rice (5%), flour (4%), and onion (2%) (see Figure 1).
In February 2022, beef prices increased sharply by 53%, compared to February 2021. Such sharp price increases might be explained by increased production costs and the trends on the international markets. The latest FAO’s data on meat production in Turkmenistan is available only for 2020. Annual production of fat cattle (meat cattle) measured by heads in Turkmenistan in 2020 was 799,503, which is 1.2% lower than in 2020 (809,337) and 0.5% higher than the previous 5-year average between 2015 and 2019 (795,568).
According to the local meat producers in Turkmenistan, prices of cow feed, especially for cotton seed residues have gone up due to the low production of cotton in recent months. Cottonseed production in 2019 was 320,000 tonnes in Turkmenistan, which is 14.9% lower than the previous 5-year-average production between 2014-2018, which was 376,000 tonnes. In addition, prices for slaughterhouse service increased as butchers demanded higher wages for their service. Due to increased production costs, farmers who produce beef also had to increase the prices for their final product.
In February 2022, international meat prices, measured by the FAO’s Food Price Index increased by 15.3% compared to February 2021. The main driver was the increased demand for beef due to the tight supplies of beef in major producer countries such as Brazil and Australia.
On a monthly basis, palaw prices continue to decrease for 6 months in a row from 116.4 manat in September 2021 to 77.4 manat in February 2022, which is a 33.5% decrease. Similar pattern can be observed in black market exchange rate for the same period. Average black market exchange rate between manat and USD was 27.3 manat in September 2021 and it has been declining steadily since then reaching an average rate of 18.6 manat in February 2022, which is a 31.9% decrease. Clearly, black market exchange rate is strongly setting the pace for palaw price inflation.