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Inflation in stores – March 2024. What has become more expensive and what has become cheaper? Report by UCE Research and WSB Merito

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Inflation in stores in March 2024 was 2.1 percent, year-on-year, according to a report by UCE Research and WSB Merito universities. The increase in prices was mainly driven by food additives. Products in this category were the only ones to see a double-digit increase. On the other hand, the number of categories whose items have become cheaper has increased significantly.

The March report “Price Index in Retail Stores” compared nearly 75,000. retail prices from over 34.7 thousand stores belonging to 55 retail chains. The analysis shows that last month, everyday purchases became more expensive on average by 2.1%. Every year. For comparison, in February it was an increase of 3.9%. year to year, and in January – by 4.8 percent.

Price increases in stores are slowing down

“The dynamics of price increases in retail stores is clearly slowing down. This tendency is visible almost throughout the European Union. However, we should remain moderately optimistic, among other things, due to the expiration of zero VAT on food,” said Dr. Agnieszka Gawlik from the press release. WSB Merito University.

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She assessed that although some retail chains declared that they would not increase prices by the amount of the tax, “an increase in the dynamics of increases can be expected.” “Another pro-inflation factor will be the announced unfreezing of energy prices in Poland in the second half of the year,” Gawlik added.

Read also: Electricity prices in 2024. Hening-Kloska announces new tariffs and denies huge increases

Additionally, Dr. Joanna Wieprow from WSB Merito University pointed out that in March, retail chains introduced many promotions in connection with the pre-Christmas period.

According to the report's authors, results such as those in March may not be repeated. Last month, out of 17 categories analyzed, only one saw a double-digit increase year-on-year. In February, this concerned 2 segments.

In turn, 7 groups of goods (10 in February) showed a single-digit price increase in March, and 9 categories (5 in February) recorded a decline.

What is the most expensive?

“These results are directly related to the downward trend in inflation and the stabilization of factors that previously caused large increases. Of course, some groups of goods will continue to increase in price, but it can be conservatively assumed that the time of double-digit increases in most categories is over,” Gawlik predicts.

Last month, the infamous price leader was once again food additives, including: ketchups, mayonnaises, mustards, spices. In March, they went up by an average of 15.4%. year on year, in February it was an increase of 12.1%. “Food additives again recorded a double-digit price increase due to seasonal factors, including the increased demand for this type of products before the holidays,” said Joanna Wieprow.

Second place in the ranking was taken by household chemicals, which increased in price by an average of 9.7%. year on year, while in February prices in this category increased by 9.4%. In third place were sweets and desserts with an increase of 9.6%. Every year. In February, their prices increased by 10.5 percent. “The record-breaking price of cocoa makes this category at the forefront of prices. The price of a ton of the above-mentioned raw material soared to over 8,000 pounds in March. The reason for this was concerns about production in West African countries, which are the world's main suppliers of cocoa,” Gawlik explained.

The leaders also included non-alcoholic drinks (an increase of 9.1% year-on-year), personal hygiene products (4.8%), children's products (4.2%) and bread (3.9%). .

The prices of these items have dropped

On the other hand, the largest price drop once again concerned fatty products. They fell on average by 22.1%. Every year.

“First of all, global rapeseed prices are showing a downward trend. This is important because rapeseed oil constitutes a significant part of oil products in Poland. Secondly, it was the most expensive product category last year. Thirdly, fats, especially butter and oil, are eagerly used in promotional campaigns because they attract consumers' attention. Reducing their prices is therefore an element of the competitive struggle,” said Agnieszka Gawlik.

Loose products became cheaper by 6.6%. Every year. “This is the result of trends on world stock exchanges. The key was to reduce grain prices. Future price directions will depend on possible changes in the policy regarding grain imports to the European Union market from Ukraine,” Wieprov pointed out.

The following also dropped in price: vegetables (decrease by 3.1% year-on-year), dairy products (2.4%), fruit (2.1%), pet food (1.5%), meats (0, 8%), meat (0.7%), and fish (0.2%).

According to preliminary data from the Central Statistical Office inflation in March 2024 was 1.9%, year-on-year. This is the lowest level since March 2019, when prices increased by 1.7%. Every year. For comparison, in February inflation was 2.8%. compared to the same month last year.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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