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Global Economy

Inflation: When a visit to the supermarket turns into a treasure hunt

Less crowded shopping carts… for higher grocery bills. In Belgium, as across Europe, rising inflation is forcing consumers to think twice before making a purchase.

For Letícia dos Santos, mother of two, these days it's all about saving to make ends meet. She has two small children and costs for diapers and milk powder. She always looks for special offers, especially for meat. Fruit and vegetables have also become more expensive.

Higher prices for meat, bread and vegetables. For consumers, a simple visit to the supermarket becomes almost a treasure hunt. Today, for example, the second salad only costs half as much.

Things are unlikely to change anytime soon. Inflation is affecting household budgets across Europe, along with higher energy bills.

Consumer organizations are calling on governments to act and speak of a structural problem.

The current inflation is not directly linked to the war in Ukraine, says Camille Perrin of the European Consumers' Association. In fact, it is a consequence of the economic recovery after Covid and the price increases for agricultural products such as fertilizers. More expensive animal feed for intensive breeding also plays a role. So it is not due to a lack of supply, but to a structural problem that will be permanent.

In June, inflation in Belgium approached ten percent, the highest level in 40 years. The National Bank of Belgium forecasts that purchasing power will not increase significantly before 2023. For many households, this means tightening their belts even more.

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