Egypt to develop AI-based system for predicting commodity price crises: Cabinet’s IDSC

Ahram Online , Wednesday 10 Jan 2024

The Egyptian government plans to develop an AI-based system to predict crises in the local marjet, especially hikes in the prices of commodities and staples, Osama El-Gohary, assistant Prime Minister and head of the Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC), said on Wednesday.

The meeting.
The meeting.


El-Gohary’s remarks came during a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to review the work of the committee tasked with studying mechanisms to control markets and commodity prices.

El-Gohary explained the key steps the committee will undertake to control prices.

The initial step will involve registering companies and collecting data from authorities regarding production, consumption, inventory, exports, and imports, he added.

This data will determine fair prices, measure profits, and establish mechanisms for distributing, which enhances oversight and control, El-Gohary indicated.

El-Gohary also highlighted the establishment of an early warning system that will monitor the market in two stages, the first of which will provide composite indicators for follow-up, while the second stage will employ predictive AI techniques.

In 2023, Egypt intensified efforts to control soaring price levels, setting up price control committees and launching a price reduction initiative in October.

As part of these efforts, seven essential food items—mixed oil, beans, rice, milk, sugar, pasta, and white cheese—were classified as strategic commodities to regulate prices.

In December, the government recommended that prices be printed on all commodities produced in factories to prevent exaggerated increases imposed by intermediaries between producers and consumers.

Prices of various commodities, such as ricesugaronions, and tobacco, experienced significant increases since the beginning of 2023, leading to the country's inflation rate peaking at 40.3 percent in September.

However, due to the government's efforts, inflation began to decline in October and continued to decrease for three consecutive months, reaching 35.2 percent in December.

Despite  this decline, experts pointed out that prices continue to rise due to various factors, including the pricing of goods and services based on the USD exchange rate in the black market rather than the official exchange rate in banks, which has led to inflated prices.

A report by BMI Research, a subsidiary of Fitch Solutions, predicted that Egypt's average inflation rate will decrease to 27.4 percent in 2024 from 34.1 percent in 2023.

Furthermore, the country aims to reduce inflation below 10 percent by 2025, as announced by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly last week.

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