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RE: [casi] the bbc report

Thanks for tracking that down, Richard.  The sentence that seems to be the
one that we're interested in is:

> [One market trader] said prices were cheaper than ever
> and things that were once beyond most people's reach
> were now affordable.

This makes much more sense to me than the statement that most Iraqis could
afford luxury goods.

What I also found interesting about this, is the claim that prices have
fallen.  If anyone had any insights into why that was, I'd appreciate
hearing them.  The reason that this interests me is that I've been under the
understanding that the sanctions have not made it more costly to move goods
across the Iraqi border: since 1991, the Jordanian border has been open;
importers are only inspected now, as I understand it, when they submit
themselves for inspection.  They do this if they're importing 'oil for food'
goods (as they need the inspection to receive their money) but didn't tend
to otherwise, I thought.

If prices are falling, and if the borders have not imposed significant costs
for some time, where are the price cuts coming from?  It's possible that the
improving living conditions mean that imports are occurring in larger
quantities, dropping their unit prices.  Maybe there's more competition in
the import business, forcing importers to drop their prices.

Best wishes,

Colin Rowat

work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham |
Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | | (+44/0) 121 414 3754 |
(+44/0) 121 414 7377 (fax) |

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