By Dimitra Manifava
Basic consumer products and services remain expensive despite the big reductions in disposable incomes and consumer spending, while the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announced on Monday that August inflation climbed to 1.7 percent on a yearly basis, against 1.3 percent in July.
Amid the current deep recession, the data have raised serious concern within the government, while the food industry has underscored that it has no margin for any further price cuts, citing the high cost of production.
Official figures show that in the last couple of years household consumption has shrunk by 14.87 percent, falling from 36.9 billion euros in the second quarter of 2010 to 31.45 billion euros in the same period this year on stable prices. Data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that inflation in Greece remains at substantially higher levels than the European Union average and other countries mired in crisis such as Spain, as in the last couple of years the Greek consumer price index has recorded an 8 percent rise in prices.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages posted annual price rises of 1.8 percent, mostly due to increases in the cost of fresh fruit (4.8 percent), fresh vegetables (10 percent), refreshments (9.4 percent), fruit juice (6.3 percent), dairy products and eggs (2 percent) and fish (2 percent). The rise in the price of heating oil (15.6 percent) and natural gas (19.8 percent) has also contributed.
Air ticket prices climbed 15.1 percent and the cost of gasoline has grown 9.7 percent within a year.
ELSTAT also announced on Monday that industrial production fell by 5 percent in July from the same month a year ago compared with a 0.3 percent rise in June.
What is more, exports posted a 1.1 percent decrease in July, dropping from 1.436 billion euros in July 2011 to 1.421 billion this year. This was only the second time in the last 20 months that exports to third countries (outside the European Union) have recorded a drop, ELSTAT figures showed.