By Pierre Laurent, correspondent in Paris for Eurasia Business News, on September 19, 2022
Bread, vegetables, meat – food has become more expensive for Europeans. Oil prices have particularly risen, but important staple foods such as bread and meat have also become much more expensive. This inflation in the price of bread is the result of a combination of factors:
1/ The return of inflation in Europe from June/July 2021;
2/ An increased drought that has reduced grain production; On average, in France, the month of April 2022 recorded a deficit of 25% of rainfall. At the end of a dry winter which, in many regions, did not allow to recharge the groundwater, making the wheat fields vulnerable.
3/ Geopolitical upheavals following the entry of the Russian armies into Ukraine on February 24, 2022;
Russia and Ukraine have always been major exporters of cereals, wheat, maize, oilseeds (especially sunflowers) and fertilizers. The armed conflict that has been raging since February 2022 has greatly reduced grain exports to African and European markets, causing pressure on prices.
The price of wheat reached a record high on 16 May at 438.25 euros per tonne, before falling but still at high levels (more than 350 euros per tonne).
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In August 2022, the price of bread in the European Union was on average 18% higher than in August 2021, according to Eurostat, the European statistics agency. This is a very strong increase compared to August 2021, when the price of bread was on average 3% higher than in August 2020. The monthly data also show a significant increase in headline inflation, although less significant (from +3% to +10%). This information comes from data on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) recently published by Eurostat.
Some countries have been much more affected than others. The highest average rate of change in bread prices was recorded in Hungary (+66% in August 2022), followed by Lithuania (+33%), Estonia and Slovakia (+32% each).
At the same time, the lowest average rate of change in bread prices was recorded in France (+8% in August 2022), the Netherlands and Luxembourg (+10% each).
Inflation is widespread on the European continent.
On 29th July the European statistics agency Eurostat reported that the inflation rate in the euro zone in July reached 8.9% per year, reaching an all-time high. Among the countries with the highest inflation rate for the year are Estonia (23.2%), Latvia (21.3%) and Lithuania (20.9%).
On 31st August Eurostat indicated that inflation in the euro zone was reaching a record 9.1% per year.
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