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Oct 12, 2021
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Prices went up for the most tomatoes

Prices went up for the most tomatoes

Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS

The rise in prices in Russia in the first month of autumn reached 7.4% in annual terms. Cumulative inflation since the beginning of the year was 5.32%. According to Rosstat data, after July and August, when there was a slowdown in price growth, the levels of the beginning of autumn can be compared with a surge in inflation.

It is interesting to look at the overall indicator in the context of what and how the most expensive was. In September, food products, more precisely fruits and vegetables, became the leaders in price growth. For example, over the month, oranges rose in price by almost 13%, cucumbers – by 17.3%, tomatoes – by almost a quarter.

With oranges it is clear – they grow in Russia only in greenhouses. What’s wrong with cucumbers and tomatoes? In 34 regions of the country, green fruits have risen in price within 40%, and in another ten the price increase for cucumbers reached 82%! Tomatoes have become “golden fruits” on the shelves. In 60 regions of the country, they have risen in price by more than 20%. Of these, fourteen – one and a half to two times!

Scientific Director of the Institute of Globalization Problems, Doctor of Economics Mikhail Delyagin connects the rise in prices for fruit and vegetable products with its poor harvest in Russia this year:

– There was a bad harvest – due to the drought and due to the fact that our state put a lot of pressure on the economy: it did not provide preferential loans, did not take into account the negative consequences of the coronabesia, and so on. As a result, we had a rather noticeable decline in agricultural production in the summer. Plus, most of the harvest is harvested by monopolists. These people want to trade themselves. The state restricts them in trade. Here are the prices and are growing …

Garlic and bananas, pears and lemons, dry fruits and fresh herbs, chicken eggs, chicken meat and beef were the company of tomatoes and cucumbers in the more expensive grocery range. There are also cheaper goods in the grocery basket. Thus, according to Rosstat, in September prices fell for frozen fish, onions, cabbage and carrots, apples, grapes and beets. But this set did not outweigh the rise in prices. As a result, food inflation accelerated the general rise in prices in Russia. For her, this is a piece of cake.

The weight of the products when calculating the index is large, explains Igor Safonov, expert of the Institute “Development Center”, National Research University Higher School of Economics:

– Vegetables are consumed quite often. They account for a fairly large weight of household expenditures. And meat products are, in principle, expensive. And even a slight increase in meat prices affects inflation. The weight of meat in terms of inflation is almost 9%. Fruits, vegetables and potatoes – almost 4.5%. These are one of the most important product groups. In general, food accounts for 38% when calculating inflation. And together with housing and communal services, whose weight exceeds 10%, this is almost half of all the expenses of the population.

The main contribution of housing and communal services to annual inflation occurs in the summer, when the tariffs for utilities are being massively revised in Russia. In September, Rosstat did not notice a large increase in prices for housing and communal services. Of the rise in price for educational services: almost 8% – in universities, 7.7% – in schools, 4.7% – in vocational schools. Foreign language courses have become 3.5% more expensive. At the beginning of the academic year, it became more expensive to rent a room in a hostel – by almost 4%. However, the general indicator of the cost of services has not changed at all. It turned out that the price hike was canceled out by the cheaper services. For example, tickets for reserved seat carriages and flights in economy class have sharply decreased in price.

For most Russians, headline inflation is a simple number. And this figure is incomprehensible, says Mikhail Delyagin. According to the economist, Rosstat includes in the calculation of the price index a lot of things that we rarely buy or do not use at all:

– Rosstat in inflation counts cars, yachts, furniture, fur coats, funeral services and so on. But there are other indicators as well. For example, the purchase price of a grocery basket. And from the beginning of the year to the end of September, it has risen in price by only more than four percent. But this indicator is also crafty, because it reflects not the price tag, but the costs. If I bought Italian pasta yesterday, and then lost money and, in order to pay off the loan, switched to MacFa, then this will be interpreted as a decrease in the purchase price. Although both “Makfa” and Italian pasta may continue to rise in price.

“SP”: – It turns out that the Russians spend less on food?

– Yes, but they don’t buy less, they switch to cheaper products. As a result, the average purchase price goes down. At the same time, prices rise in the store.

The September rise in food prices exceeded the authorities’ expectations. A number of departments are preparing to revise their forecasts for annual inflation. And this is not the first time this year. So the Ministry of Economic Development in the middle of summer raised inflation expectations from 4.3 to 5%. And it intends to do this by the end of September. The Bank of Russia revised expectations for price increases twice: in April it raised them from 4.7% to 5.2%, in July – by another percentage point. Most likely, experts will also change their estimates. The September rise in prices exceeded all expectations, Igor Safonov admitted:

– We expected inflation to peak in September. But we thought it would take place sometime in the middle of the month. It turned out that the rise in prices continued in the second half of September.

“SP”: – What will happen with the rise in prices. in your opinion in the remaining months of 2021?

– Our latest forecast assumes a slight slowdown in price growth starting from October. Now, on the basis of the new data, we have not recalculated the progoz yet. But if we talk about annual inflation, it is very likely that September indicators are the maximum for this year. Further, the rise in prices will slow down. The overall figure for the year will be more than 6%. We talked about this back in August. Now this can be asserted almost 100%. Initially, we expected annual inflation in the region of 6.1-6.2%. But perhaps now we will have to adjust our forecast upward.

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