Consumers heading for Easter price jolt

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Cypriots can expect an Easter shock as food prices rise, according to the latest survey by the Consumer Protection Service, while market stakeholders warn of further hikes.

According to the Commerce Ministry’s Consumer Protection Service, food prices such as meat, bread, and eggs increased between 12% and 25% in February compared to last year.

According to the survey, the cost of bread in February was 12.8% higher than in 2022.

The cost of rice and pasta was 15% and 25% higher in February 2023 compared to last year.

Beef and veal were 25% more expensive last month than in February 2022.

Pork rose by 14% compared to last year, while fish and seafood were 13% and 12.3% more expensive.

The price of eggs increased by 13.5%, with olive oil by 16% more.

Coffee and baby food were 21% and 16% more expensive this February, while prices of fruit and vegetables increased by 2% and 9%, respectively.

The cost of bottled water has also increased by 17%, while the price of juice and soft drinks increased by 14%.

Data from the Cyprus Statistical Services show that foodstuff costs have also impacted the hospitality sector.

Restaurants, cafes, and fast-food establishments have put up prices by an average of 13%.

In comments to Kathimerini Cyprus, the head of the Cyprus Butchers Association, Costas Livadiotis, said that messages received from suppliers could be more encouraging.

Livadiotis said factors out of their control pushed prices up.

Indications, he said, are that prices will continue to climb, while shortages could be on the cards ahead of the Easter holiday.

He was referring to the increased cost of animal feed due to the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia.

Meanwhile, chicken and egg farmers have also pointed out that the increased cost of animal feed has inflated prices.

The head of Cyprus’ Association of Poultry Breeders, Petros Minitikkis, said the cost of eggs has been rising for three years, increasing by 32%.

Mintikkis said egg prices are inflated by the spread of bird flu across Europe, hiking the cost of importing chickens for egg production.

He did not foresee any further increases but added that no decreases should be expected.

Inflation in February retreated to 6.7% (yoy), compared to 6.8% in January but still historically high.

Cyprus saw record inflation in July when a 10.9% year-on-year increase was recorded.

The previous record was 10.8% in December 1981.