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Philip Morris hikes price of tobacco products in Egypt by 15-20%

Philip Morris Misr on Monday increased the prices of its tobacco products by 15-20.5 percent.
15.11.23 | Source: Ahram Online

According to a statement by Philip Morris Misr, the official prices of popular cigarette brands such as Merit, Marlboro, and L&M now stand at EGP 74, EGP 69, and EGP 50 respectively up from EGP 64, EGP 59 and EGP 40. However, consumers can expect to pay much higher prices for their branch of choice on the parallel market.

This is the third official price hike by the company in just over a year, with previous increases in September 2022 and April 2023.

The most recent increase follows a move last week by the Eastern Company to raise its own prices to offset the rising costs of production inputs following the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.

The official price of Cleopatra cigarettes rose from EGP 24 to EGP 27 for a 20-cigarette pack. However, the actual price for consumers on the parallel market is EGP 50.

The decisions to raise tobacco prices follows on the heels of parliament’s approval in October of an amendment imposing an additional EGP 0.50 VAT tax on tobacco products.

Rumours and speculation among merchants before the amendment's approval led to a frenzy of price hikes of up to 100 percent across different cigarette brands in the parallel market.

The crisis has been exacerbated by supply shortages caused by merchants and distributors hoarding most of the quantities they receive from the Eastern Company.

Parallel market

The cigarette market in Egypt currently faces a severe crisis as there exists a significant disparity between the officially announced prices and the actual prices traded in the market.

Merchants find themselves at a crossroads, torn between adhering to the new price increases and selling cigarettes at the official prices or withholding them from sale in anticipation of further price rises.

This uncertainty has left smokers grappling with exorbitant prices or, in some cases, unable to find their preferred brands at all.