Food, gasoline prices pinch families as global inflation rises

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) – From appliance stores in the United States to food markets in Hungary and gas stations in Poland, rising consumer prices fueled by high energy costs and disruptions in the supply chain is straining households and businesses around the world.

Rising inflation drives up the prices of food, gasoline and other commodities, and causes many people to choose between digging deeper into their pockets or tightening their belts. In developing economies, this is particularly serious.

“We have noticed that we are consuming less,” said Gabor Pardi, a shopper at an outdoor food market in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, after recently buying a bag of fresh vegetables. “We try to buy the cheapest and most economical products, even if they don’t look so good. “

Almost two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic impact of the crisis is still being felt even after countries have rushed out of debilitating lockdowns and consumer demand rebounded. To make matters worse, a new wave of infections is causing further restrictions in Europe and other parts of the world.

The repercussions are hitting Central and Eastern Europe particularly hard, where countries have some of the highest inflation rates in the EU27 and people struggle to buy food or fill their fuel tanks. .

Budapest food market butcher Ildiko Vardos Serfozo said she has seen a drop in business as customers move to multinational grocery chains that can offer discounts by buying in bulk at wholesale.

“Buyers are price sensitive and therefore often leave us out, even though our products are of high quality. Money talks, ”she said. “We notice that inflation is not good for us. … I’m just glad my kids don’t want to continue this family business, I don’t see much of a future.

In neighboring Poland, Barbara Grotowska, a 71-year-old retiree, told a discount supermarket in the capital Warsaw that she had been hit the hardest by her garbage collection costs which nearly tripled to 88 zlotys ($ 21 ). She also lamented that the cooking oil she uses has increased by a third of its price, to 10 zlotys ($ 2.40).

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