Libya Joint Market Surveillance Initiative (JMMI), 1 – 11 May 2021 – Libya



  • With the aim of informing monetary interventions and better understanding the market dynamics in Libya, the Joint Market Surveillance Initiative (JMMI) was established by the Libya Cash & Markets Working Group (CMWG) in June 2017. The initiative is led by REACH and supported by members of the CMWG. It is funded by the United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Office (BHA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

  • Markets in major urban areas of Libya are assessed on a monthly basis. In each location, field teams record the prices and availability of basic food and non-food items (NFI) sold in local stores and markets. This fact sheet provides an overview of the price ranges and medians for major food and non-food items in the areas assessed, as well as the costs associated with key elements of the Minimum Expenditure Basket (SEM).

  • REACH also carried out an analysis highlighting the economic vulnerability of population groups at risk, accessible via an interactive dashboard.


  • Field staff familiar with local market conditions identified stores representative of the general price level in their respective locations.

  • At least four prices per evaluated item were collected in each location. In line with JMMI’s goal, only the price of the cheapest available brand was recorded for each item.

  • Investigators were trained in the methodology and tools by REACH. Data collection was carried out via the KoBoCollect mobile application.

  • After data collection, REACH compiled and cleaned up all partner data, normalizing prices, cross-checking outliers, and calculating the median cost of SEM in each market assessed.

  • Qualitative information is also gathered from local sources and economic experts through key informant (KI) interviews.

  • REACH extracted prices daily from the “Open Souq” website and conducted KI interviews with real estate market professionals to better understand the rental market in Libya.

  • More details are available in the Methodology section of the appendix.


  • The cost of SEM increased 0.5% across Libya between April and May 2021 (see page 2). The SEM is 12.3% higher than pre-COVID-19 levels as of March 2020.

  • In eastern Libya, the cost of SEM increased 5.4% with cities like Al Marj (+14.9) and Al Bayda (+ 10.2%) experiencing price spikes.

  • The food share of MEB decreased by 8.2%, driven by the drop in items such as onions (-20%) and salt (-20%).

  • From February to May 2021, the prices of paracetamol increased by 41.3% and amoxocillin by 17.2%. In May 2021, metoclopramide was 44.7% more expensive than in November 2020 and vitamin B was 43.4% more expensive than in October 2020.

  • The parallel market cooking fuel increased 38.1% from March to May 2021. As mentioned in the April 2021 fact sheet, the recent monthly increase may be due to the authorities having imposed a case of force majeure at the Hariga oil field, temporarily reducing Libya’s production by 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) from April 19 to 26.

  • On May 24, 2021, the Libyan parliament approved the first chapter of the 34.6 billion Libyan dinars (LYD) budget, mainly related to salaries. Parliament previously rejected the entire budget (LYD 93 billion) because its value is too high and potentially has an inflationary effect on the economy.

  • On May 24, 2021, the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) declared that letters of credit will no longer be required for the entry of Tunisian goods into the country. This is a turnaround from the decision to ban the opening of letters of credit (LC) for goods imported through the country’s land borders which have stifled trade between Tunisia and Libya. The move will allow goods to flow more freely between the two countries and lower prices in western Libya, but it could increase demand for foreign exchange in the parallel market, causing the LYD to depreciate.


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