Palaw Index January / 2024

January 2024: Palaw costs decline by 21%.

Significant drop in onion prices.

January 2024 witnessed a substantial decline in the cost of preparing palaw in Ashgabat, with the average expense dropping to 62.0 Turkmen manat, marking a 20.8% reduction compared to January 2023’s figure of 78.2 manat. This decrease also represented a minor uptick of 3.3% from December 2023’s cost of 60.0 manat. Globally, food prices, as reported by the FAO’s Food Price Index, experienced a noteworthy average decline of 10.4% in January 2024 compared to the previous year.

Turkmenistan observed a general trend of price reductions across all products in January 2024 per year-on-year data. Notably, onion prices saw a remarkable drop, plummeting by 69.7%. This was followed by significant reductions in sunflower oil prices (-43.8%), carrots (-33.3%), wheat flour (-22.4%), rice (-16.1%), and beef (-6.3%), as illustrated in Figure 1.

Significant drop in onion prices

Onion prices in Ashgabat stood at 3.8 manat per kg in January 2024, marking a substantial 69.7% decrease compared to the corresponding period in the previous year when prices averaged 12.4 manat per kg. The significant price difference can be attributed to the severe cold weather experienced in Turkmenistan during the winter of 2023, which damaged most onion crops.

Moreover, concerns about domestic shortages prompted all four Central Asian countries to implement export bans on onions in late January 2023, leading to price hikes. However, prices began to decrease with the onset of the spring harvest in April 2023, later averaging around 4.3 manat throughout the year.

Turkmenistan boasts significant self-sufficiency in onion production, with three types of onions cultivated across different regions. Red onions are predominantly grown in the Ahal (Myane-Chach) and Mary (Hanhovuz) regions, white onions in the Dashoguz region, and yellow onions in the Ak Bugday and Baharden districts of the Ahal region. Spring onion cultivation typically commences from February to mid-March, with harvests beginning in April.

Correlation between palaw prices and the black market rate

In recent years (2020-2022), Palaw Index price changes closely followed the USD/manat black market exchange rate. However, this correlation seemed to weaken due to a stable exchange rate around 19 manat/USD since 2022. The biggest driver of changes in palaw prices in 2023 were external factors such as increased supply of sunflower oil and wheat flour in the global market.


Prices of ingredients in the Palaw Index are collected for 1 kg of onion, carrot, beef, rice, and flour, and 1 liter of cooking oil. Based on the methodology, in order to cook palaw for a family of four, we use 0.3 liters of cooking oil, 0.5 kg of onion, 1 kg of carrots, 0.6 kg of beef, 1 kg of rice, and 0.5 kg of flour in our formula. Please click here to learn more about the methodology of the Palaw Index.

Progres team strives to make Palaw Index reports as inclusive as possible by tracking the price changes of palaw in all major cities of Turkmenistan. Therefore, we kindly ask you to help us in collecting the prices by filling this out the form.

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