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High oil prices cause hard time for Mideast's middle class

Houston Chronicle
Date: Mon 02/25/2008

Rise in costs of food, basic goods squeezing many

By ROBERT F. WORTH
New York Times

AMMAN, JORDAN - Even as it enriches Arab rulers, the recent oil-price boom is helping to fuel an extraordinary rise in the cost of food and other basic goods that is squeezing this region's middle class and setting off strikes, demonstrations and occasional riots from Morocco to the Persian Gulf.

Here in Jordan, the cost of maintaining fuel subsidies amid the surge in prices forced the government to remove almost all the subsidies this month, sending the price of some fuels up 76 percent overnight. In a devastating domino effect, the cost of basic foods like eggs, potatoes and cucumbers doubled or more.

Dramatic inflation

In Saudi Arabia, where inflation had been virtually zero for a decade, it recently reached an official level of 6.5 percent

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Added: Feb-26-2008 
By: e4bannan
In:
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Tags: middle east, middle class, oil
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