May 29, 2008

YEREVAN, MAY 29, ARMENPRESS: Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian said
today that hiking prices of food and services have become number one
concern of Armenian citizens.

Speaking at a recurrent government session he said studies show that
prices flexibility is unsatisfactory. As a rule they skyrocket, but
go down slowly and insignificantly. According to him, this trend can
not be halted without government's intervention.

The prime minister praised the operation of the state commission for
protection of economic competition saying that it will be stepped up
through involving officials from the state taxation service.

He said prices of wheat and rice are going down in global markets,
particularly, wheat price went down 42 percent against April, the
price of rice also fell 22 percent in the last 4 weeks.

Both products occupy a significant place in Armenians' subsistence
basket creating favorable conditions for brining their prices down.

"The government will keep this issue in the limelight. It will study
pricing trends, especially in those companies whose prices of imported
goods are not adequate to global prices," he said.

He said inflation affects also the moral-psychological atmosphere in
the country stirring up new social and economic problems.

The prime minister said special instructions were given to economy
and finance ministries, the Central Bank and the state commission
for protection of economic competition to monitor the situation and
submit their proposals about how to curb price hikes.