Hopes that food prices will be cut

Supermarket owners and dairy producers indicated yesterday that they would help with the fight against the high cost of living by reducing their prices over the next few days. The move comes after talks with Development Minister Christos Folias. The government is concerned that rising prices and inflation of 4.6 percent – a six-year high – could do irreparable damage to its popularity. Folias has been holding meetings over the past few days with representatives from a range of industry sectors in a bid to convince them to lower their prices. He appeared to have secured a breakthrough with supermarket owners yesterday. The businessmen did not indicate by how much they are prepared to reduce their prices but said that they will provide an answer by tomorrow. The president of Metro supermarkets, one of Greece’s largest chains, Pantelis Panteliadis, said that his company would try to pass on any savings from its suppliers to customers but insisted that the firm’s profit margins are no larger than 1.5 percent. «We will do whatever we can but we will have to work out what is causing high prices, beyond the rise in the cost of oil and cereals,» he said. Dairy producers also notified Folias of their intention to review their prices and cut the cost of some items in the next few days. According to figures released yesterday by the European Union’s statistical arm, Eurostat, the price of foodstuffs in Greece rose by 7 percent over the last year.