Palaw Index March / 2024

March 2024: Rice prices continue to decline. Palaw costs decline by 17%.

March 2024 witnessed a substantial decline in the cost of preparing palaw in Ashgabat, with the average expense dropping to 65.3 Turkmen manat, marking a 17.1% reduction compared to March 2023’s figure of 78.7 manat. This decrease also represented a minor uptick of 3.7% from February 2024’s cost of 63.0 manat. Globally, food prices, as reported by the FAO’s Food Price Index, experienced a noteworthy average decline of 7.7% in March 2024 compared to the previous year.

Turkmenistan observed a general trend of price reductions across all products in March 2024 per year-on-year data, except for carrots and beef. Carrot prices were up by 5.0% and beef prices were slightly up by 0.8% in March 2024 on a YoY basis. Onion prices saw a large drop, plummeting by 72.1%. This was followed by significant reductions in sunflower oil prices (-35.7%), rice (-21.6%), and wheat flour (-14.1%) as illustrated in Figure 1.

Rice prices continue to decline

Rice prices went down from 20.8 manat in March 2023 to 16.3 manat in March 2024, which is a 21.6% decrease. Rice prices have been decreasing consistently since early 2023. See the chart below to see the difference in rice prices over the last one year.

The FAO All Rice Price Index declined by 1.7% in March, largely reflecting a subdued global import demand.

Rice harvest in Turkmenistan is expected to reach 82,000 tonnes in 2024. Rice is harvested in Lebap and Dashoguz regions in Turkmenistan because rice requires a lot of water and Lebap region is cultivated along the shores of Amu Darya. The harvested rice reached 82,400 tons in 2021, which is similar to the numbers in 2020. However, statistics on annual rice production might not be reliable given the poor reputation of the government agencies in publishing statistics and data.

Correlation between palaw prices and the black market rate

In 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.

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