Cost of living continues to bite

2 mins read

Cypriot consumers are being hit by one nasty shock after another, as prices for basic foodstuffs increase from 10% to over 100% in just a few months, with demand for government intervention growing.

With the war in Ukraine waging on for almost three months and sanctions on Russia increasing, consumers in Europe and Cyprus are paying a hefty price.

In comments to news site Philenews, the Cyprus Consumers’ Association president, Marios Drousiotis, said they have called on the government to keep up support measures, while the European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC) is to call on Brussels to do the same.

Drousiotis said that BEUC, an umbrella group for 46 independent consumer organisations from 32 countries, will ask the European Commission to address the issue of high energy prices.

“BEUC has asked the Cyprus Association to give its suggestions on the issue of VAT on energy products and road transport fuels.

“Given the difficult economic situation of households, we have suggested that Member States be given the option to reduce VAT on fuel and energy until the end of the financial crisis,” said Drousiotis.

In April, Cyprus’ inflation reached 8.6%, while it could reach double figures in the summer months.

The majority of products and services have recorded significant increases since the beginning of the year.

According to Drousiotis, the price of fresh vegetables has gone up by 35.86%, liquid fuel increased by 32.32%, and the cost of air travel jumped 33.13%.

Petrol prices have increased by 21.36%, footwear increased by 20%, and electricity is 18.59% more expensive.

The price of sugar is now 14% higher, potatoes 13.60%, margarine 12.82%, Edam cheese 103%, and coffee 10%.

Gas bottles recorded an increase of 10%, tea 8.89%, pasta 8.73%, rice 8.32, wine 7.81%, and baby food 6.36%.

The price of chicken (skinned leg) has increased by 10.53% in the last month, while the increase since the beginning of the crisis is 55.55%.

Chicken breast has doubled in recent months at an increase of 113.21%.

The president of the Cyprus Bakers Association, Lakis Savvides, said the price of bakery products is up 10%.

He described the increases in essential goods as “frightening”. He suggested that measures be taken to support businesses on the verge of closing down as they struggle to absorb increases.

The price of flour climbed 61.86%, while the price of sunflower oil increased by 152.38% this year.

The head of the Cyprus Retailers Association (PASYLE), Marios Antoniou, said consumers are concentrating on items that are on discount, avoiding shopping for non-essential items.

“The big question is when will prices stabilise. There is also pressure from delay in cargo at the ports, which may cause temporary shortages of some goods,” said Antoniou.

He said major supermarkets and wholesalers have enough stock for the next 30 to 35 days, which means that Cypriots should not witness severe shortages for the next two months.

Cyprus has been witnessing its highest inflation rate for four decades.

Earlier this month, the government pledged to continue supporting low-income groups hit by the highest inflation rate.

Cyprus government has reduced the VAT on electricity for several months, from 19% to 10%. It further targeted the vulnerable and reduced it from 19% to 5%.