In the latest sign of Egypt's growing economic woes, shoppers are finding it increasingly difficult to get their hands on sugar. Here's a look at how the shortage is affecting Egyptian society and the reasons behind the shortage.
1. The government is confiscating sugar
Many Egyptians have added the absence of sugar to a growing list of complaints against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, but the government has tried to shift the blame, accusing local factories and profiteering traders of hoarding stocks to increase prices.
Authorities raided Edita Food Industries, one of Egypt's largest food producers, over the weekend, seizing some 2,000 tons of sugar stocks. The company has denied hoarding stocks of sugar and has said that the move may force its production to stop altogether.
"If it's (the confiscation) going to continue, the rest of the company will stop," Edita's Chairman Hani Berzi told Reuters, also saying that foreign investors are "very concerned."
2. Egypt has a dollar shortage
Typically, Egypt imports about 1 million tons of sugar each year. But, as the country suffers from a severe shortage of U.S. dollars and as the prices of sugar rises globally – due to a smaller than expected crop in Brazil (the world's biggest producer) and shortages throughout Asia – shops and supermarkets have been unable to keep their shelves stocked.
Essentially, Egypt would already be struggling to afford the cost of imported sugar but the prices have risen, making it even more difficult.
3. As a result, prices of sugar have more than doubled
Prices of sugar have more than doubled in Egypt, up from $0.06 a pound two years ago to more than $0.15 today. The rising global price of sugar due to a less than expected global supply, is being felt extra hard by Egyptians as their economy is already struggling.
But, the high price and lack of sugar is only the latest economic concern Egyptians are facing.
4. "The people are going to snap"
"The people are going to snap," Ahmad el-Gebaly, a shop-owner in Cairo told the New York Times as he turned away customers looking for sugar. "Sugar is like rice and oil and wheat. You can never run out of it. You can never mess with it. Who can live without sugar?"
5. The sugar problem is another sign of Egypt's worsening economy
With tourism, a major sector of the Egyptian economy, having fallen dramatically since 2011 and the prices of many essentials constantly rising, Egyptians are left uncertain about the future.
Perhaps one Egyptian tuk tuk driver said it best in a video clip that went viral last week. Criticizing the government for spending billions on mega-projects instead of on education, healthcare and the basic needs of its citizens, the driver said: "Before the presidential elections, we had enough sugar."
"It is shameful for this to happen to Egypt."