Food prices rose 9% in April as inflation continues to hurt consumers

The HICP index shows that annual inflation in April stood at 5.4%, an increase of almost one point over March

Bread prices drove the food index up in April
Bread prices drove the food index up in April

Food prices increased by a whopping 9% in April when compared to 12 months earlier as overall inflation continued to bite hard, official figures show.

Overall annual inflation in April stood at 5.4%, increasing by almost one point over March, the Harmonised Index for Consumer Prices released by the National Statistics Office shows. In March, annual inflation stood at 4.5%.

The price of bread was a main contributor to higher food prices, the NSO said.

Commodity prices like wheat and grains have shot up in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

While food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to be the main driver of inflation, this was followed by the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels index, which experienced an annual inflation of 8.6%. With the prices of water, electricity, gas and fuels remaining stable, the index was driven by higher housing maintenance costs.

Prices for recreation and culture increased by 7% in April when compared to the previous year.

The communication index was the only one to experience a decrease (-1.8%) in annual inflation in April.

The HICP measures monthly price changes in the cost of purchasing a representative basket of consumer goods and services. It is calculated according to rules developed by Eurostat and is used to compare inflation rates across the EU. Although HICP measures price movements just like the Retail Price Index, the two differ in their methodology. The RPI is used to calculate the Cost of Living Adjustment wage increase.

Inflation is hurting consumers and eroding their purchasing power. Prices had started to rise towards the end of last year on the back of a post-COVID recovery that saw growing demand unable to be met because of supply chain disruptions.

However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine towards the end of February and sanctions against Russia, have disrupted energy, mineral and food markets, causing prices to rise further.