High inflation in February also brought good news

The price of Czech eggs increased by 95.1 percent in February and easily defended the first place in Europe. On the contrary, Czech butter prices fell the most in the EU, which are only five percent higher than last February. Both extremes show that food prices jump the most, yet something else may be to blame for struggling family budgets.

Eurostat published data on Friday, according to which European inflation fell only slightly, from 10 percent in January to a level of 9.9 percent in February. The Czech Republic, with February inflation of 18.4 percent, still has the third worst balance after Hungary and Latvia. Nevertheless, there are fifteen states where year-on-year inflation fell in February, and it was even the seventh fastest. In addition to energy, this is also due to food, the prices of which have apparently exceeded their peak.

The ideal proof is the aforementioned butter, where prices have increased by only five percent thanks to the surplus of butter in the warehouses of German supermarkets. At the same time, its prices in Europe rose by 20 percent, i.e. four times faster.

Czech price increase in February 2023

location in the EU price rise vs Feb ’22 price rise vs Feb ’21
Grocery store 6. 25,2 32,2
Of that: egg 1. 95,1 102
semi-skimmed milk 3. 42,3 56,7
sugar 4. 75,1 99,2
flour 4. 36,1 61,4
rice 4. 31,9 41,1
pork 4. 31,1 25,4
vegetable oils 6. 39,8 61,8
salty chips 6. 29,4 36
poultry 9. 28,3 39,4
butter 27. 5,1 35,1

Nevertheless, the positive news about butter did not completely outweigh the impact of most other staple foods, which have risen in price by a third year-on-year. An extreme example remains sugar, which has risen in price by three-quarters compared to last year’s prices and by double compared to 2021, and the already mentioned eggs, the price of which reflects the outages of domestic giant poultry farms due to bird flu. As a result, Czech food prices are rising at the sixth rate in Europe after Hungary, Slovakia and the Baltic countries.

“The slowdown in inflation was recorded in half of the sections of the consumption basket,” adds Pavla Šedivá from the Czech Statistical Office to the relatively good news. A lower pace of price increases was noted mainly in transport and restaurants.

However, the place on the winner’s podium of European inflation is ensured by less conspicuous items of the consumption basket. In the country, the prices of flowers and clothes are the fastest growing, along with audiovisual and information technologies.

Footwear and sporting goods also came close to the European peak, with the exception of Latvia and Lithuania where sewerage prices rose the most. This proves that the Czech Republic is suffering from so-called “core inflation”, which makes all goods more expensive regardless of how seasonal prices or conditions on world commodity markets change.

Commodities that have become more expensive compared to the EU

location in the EU price rise vs Feb ’22 price rise vs Feb ’21
Plants and flowers 1. 22,7 41,6
Clothes 1. 16 33,2
Audiovisual and information technology 1. 6 16,3
Footwear 2. 13,2 27,7
Sewerage 3. 30,3 36,7
Equipment for sports 3. 11,8 21,1
Gas 4. 73,9 101,9

Of the individual items, the sharp New Year’s rise in the price of water and sewerage can bother families the most, which worsens their balance at a time when energy prices have stopped rising or even started to fall.

They may have more serious problems as a result of households that use gas more often. Its price increased by 73.9 percent compared to last year and doubled compared to February 2021. Only six other countries in the EU already face such an expensive price, namely Austria, Latvia, Ireland, Bulgaria, Belgium and Lithuania. Heating with electricity proved to be more advantageous, the price of which increased by 32 percent compared to last year and by half compared to 2021. This means the eleventh fastest pace in the EU. The same applies to district heating prices, which have increased by 58 percent in two years.

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