Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Parents are being faced with steep hikes in the prices of stationery and books as their children prepare to return to school.

Costs have jumped by as much as a quarter, giving an added financial headache to the many families already burdened by steep increases in other costs such as rents.

Suppliers say there could be more cost rises to come in the months ahead.

Housewife J.M., who has three children in a school in Abu Dhabi, said stationery, transport and uniform costs had all jumped from last year.

"Prices of text books have gone up by three to four dirhams, school fees have increased by Dh500, transport by Dh25 and tailor prices by Dh15 to Dh20," she said.

"The increase in prices is too much for parents, it's like hand-to-mouth existence with no savings for us at all."

Another parent, Armenia, who has a 14-year-old daughter who attends a school in Sharjah, said she had faced steep increases in the cost of books.

"We never used to spend more than Dh200 on textbooks, but now this year it's Dh300. That is a big jump," she said.

Mohin Al Deen, purchaser in charge at Furkan Stationery, said stationery prices had gone up by an average of 25 per cent this year.

"The rises are because rent has increased and local distributors have increased their sell-out prices," Al Deen said.

Anil Nair, Business Manger at Al Gurg Stationery, attributed the increase in stationery prices to a worldwide increase in prices of paper and plastic products.

Extra costs

"There is a global increase of 15 to 20 per cent in paper bulk prices and 15 per cent in plastic products and we are expecting another 15 per cent increase in September and October. This inevitably will affect the local prices and we have no option but to raise our prices," said Nair.

He warned that by the end of this year prices were likely to have risen another 15 to 20 per cent.

The weakening of the dirham against the pound sterling and the euro - the result of the falling value of the US dollar - has made imports from the UK and the rest of Europe more expensive for suppliers, according to Samer Ghatas, assistant manager at Al Prints Distributors and Publishers.

Shipping price increases are also partly to blame for the extra cost of stationery, Mohammad Kunhi, category in charge for stationery and luggage at Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society said.

"Sometimes it is just cheaper for us to purchase our items directly from local agents rather than import them from other countries. The products are just as good and less expensive," he said. Although some have predicted costs could continue to rise, Mahmoud Karima, general manager for Dubai-based Middle East Stationery, said currency changes could bring down costs as early as by next month.

Have your say
Do you know of families with children that have experienced this price hike? Is the cost of education rising too rapidly? Does it match the quality provided? Tell us at letter2editor@gulfnews.com or fill in the form below to send your comments.

Your comments

In another 10years the only people left here i think will be people who have income of Dh10,000 and above. The cost of living in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is just increasing by the day.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: August 14, 2007, 12:26

I just wonder how longer this will work. I already see that the companies based in the UAE rolling out strict guidelines in not hiring any labour anymore based in the UAE (Dubai)due to the increasing cost level. That means the local market will lose its customers. I know that everybody predicts that the price increase will kill the local hype. Not happened yet. But it will change the status of Dubai and the UAE as a driver in the business in the region sooner or later. It is funny that nobody realizes that short money making (look on the landlords) kills markets in mid and longterm.
U. Luetz
Posted: August 14, 2007, 11:04

It is not only the stationery that is showing a hike in the prices, it is everywhere. The inflation rate has risen, and the effect is on everything. Every little thing contributes to the price hike, may it be salik, the rising rents or the rising demand. Living in Dubai for about 18 years now, I have only seen the rising prices. Although it is very thankful of the Government for helping us by keeping price ceilings on certain products like dairy products, we all desperately wait to see either a fall in the prices to match or income or a rise in our incomes to match the prices.
Posted: August 14, 2007, 08:23

well I've heard that inflation has hit Dubai but aren't these prices too high? well what can we do. These are the breaks!
Posted: August 14, 2007, 06:00