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Soaring prices hits lantern market in Egypt ahead of Ramadan

Ramadan lantern at market in Cairo   -  
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One of the most popular buys for people marking Ramadan in Egypt is a locally manufactured ornate traditional metallic lantern.

Their production begins at least two months before the start of the holy month, with the different workshops each known for making them in a specific shape or style.

But with just over a week to go until the start of the holy month, traders in old Cairo’s Sayeda Zeinab district say sales are slow.

One workshop owner said that the huge rise in the cost of raw materials has meant that producers have had to pass on the increase to buyers.

"Prices have doubled compared to last year. It is an overload on many people to buy both lanterns and other Ramadan supplies," said lantern merchant, Feryal Sayed.

With inflation spiking and food prices soaring, Egypt faces one of the most serious economic crises in its history.

Many Egyptians have had to opt for lower-priced Chinese or plastic lanterns and cut back on food purchases and many of Ramadan's other special treats.

"People are unable to buy [Ramadan necessities], and if they do decide to buy, it will not be the same amount as they usually purchase. Prices are a major factor in [deciding to] buy Ramadan necessities or not," said Kareem Sayed, a computer engineer.

As the country prepares to enter the holy month, what is usually the peak season for lantern manufacturers looks set to be a dismal one.

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