Ramadan revives food sector as Muslim countries spend more
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan when fasting and spiritual reflections transpire, would again unite 1.6 billion believers. Islam was the world's second-biggest religion as Muslims made up 23% of the whole population.
The impact of Ramadan in the normal business life was expected to vary between different countries. During this month, deals with government entities would likely be lower. Furthermore, the government and local companies' business hours were expected to be shorter.
During Ramadan, Arab markets would observe a revival particularly in the food sector. The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America estimated an 80% growth in the market of halal-certified foods for Islams. This reflected up to US$170 billion purchasing power of Muslims in the US.
Last year, Saudi Arabia spent US$6.66 billion on food commodities alone. Egypt spent roughly US$5 billion during the holy month. UAE's expenditures were reported to be nearly US$1.9 billion while Qatar's expenses were about US$700 million.
According to the trade ministry, 1,500 business premises were closed in Algeria due to non-compliance with the rules on fasting. On the other hand, when Egypt reduced its Ramadan hours in 2011, a US$1.4 billion loss was reported.