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Bulgaria’s Antitrust Watchdog To Probe Edible Flour Markets

 |  April 19, 2022

Bulgaria’s antitrust regulator said it is initiating proceedings to evaluate the competitive environment in the local markets for production and trade of sunflower oil and wheat flour.

The probe will examine the structure of the market and the market conditions for production and trade in wheat flour and sunflower oil, the Competition Protection Commission said in a statement published on Monday. It will also focus on the extent to which prices are influenced by external economic factors or may stem from possible anti-competitive practices that distort interconnected markets in the country.

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The record-high commodity prices observed at the end of 2021 have persisted in the current year, with the current geopolitical environment compounding the effect from soaring energy prices, the CPC said.

In a preliminary study, the regulator found that despite record wheat harvests in the last five years, demand exceeded supply as attested by the growth in grain exports. A case in point is the annual increase of 89.8% in wheat exports from the Port of Varna between July 5, 2021 and January 2, 2022.

The growth in retail prices stems directly from the rise in wholesale prices as well as from limited supply, market volatility and increased demand, according to the watchdog.

The market price index which tracks wholesale food prices went up by 3.3% on a weekly comparison basis to 2,209 points as of April 18, which is an increase of roughly 21% since January, data from the State Commission on Commodity Exchanges and Markets (SCCEM) showed.

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