ECONOMY

Price hikes seen as inevitable

Faced with further fuel price increases, government officials fear that price rises in consumer goods are inevitable. The price of unleaded gasoline rose yesterday to 82.8 cents per liter, up from 80.5 cents last Wednesday. Leaded fuel officially sells for 87.7 cents a liter, while diesel sells for 71.7 cents per liter, up a cent from the previous week. The rise will inevitably affect products with high transport costs, official and businesspeople were saying yesterday. It is only a matter of days, they said, before the prices of fruits, vegetables and other farm products rise. These developments alarmed the government enough to schedule a meeting between Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou and the associations of food and meat wholesalers and retailers. The meeting took place yesterday and participants agreed that price rises are inevitable. On the other hand, the Association of Food Industries tried to rid itself in advance of all blame for future price hikes. In a statement, members said that they changed prices only when absolutely necessary and called the present climate a temporary situation. The Piraeus Merchants’ Association called on its members yesterday to show restraint in hiking prices. The government is still confident that no «administrative measures,» such as price caps, will be necessary and that market competition will sort things out. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas ruled out price caps altogether.