The price increases are not all linked to the coronavirus: bad weather has for example impacted the citrus sector.
The prices of food products in Belgium increased by 4.04% in April compared to April 2019 and those of non-alcoholic drinks by 3.32%, announced Wednesday Statbel, whose monthly inflation figures make this time a focus on some commonly purchased products that have “caught the attention of the media recently” in the context of the current crisis. But these price increases are not necessarily linked to the coronavirus.
A month behind, that is to say compared to March 2020, the prices of food products are up by 1.68% and those of non-alcoholic drinks by 0.52%.
“Certain structural causes can be put forward to explain the general rise in food inflation. The increase cannot therefore be simply attributed to a Covid-19 effect, ”Statbel nuance. “We came from a period of low food inflation. Food inflation in 2019 was the lowest since 2014. Other countries are also experiencing higher food inflation. For example, the Netherlands posted 3.2% CPI food inflation in March and Germany 3.7% in March. In Belgium, food inflation rose to 2.4% in March. ”
The rise in food inflation in April is mainly due to high inflation of fresh vegetables and fruits (mainly citrus fruits, whose supply suffered from poor weather conditions in southern Europe, strawberries and pears, including reserves are low, unrelated to Covid-19). Inflation is also high for pork and its by-products, as this type of meat is in high demand in China.
Cleaning and maintenance products saw their prices jump 6.36% in April over a year and even 6.51% compared to March 2020. This increase is explained, in part, by the period of low inflation last year and, in part, by a lower supply of reductions. “For these products, such reductions were granted just before containment and the prohibition of reductions. Given the specific nature of these products (long shelf life), it is also possible that consumers have built up reserves, ”states Statbel.
A significant increase in prices is also noted for pet products: + 3.02% compared to April 2019 but stable compared to March 2020.
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