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French warned of further price hikes

The cost of food will surge again this month in the Eurozone’s second-largest economy

©  Delmarty J / Alpaca / Andia / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Inflation in France will accelerate to reach 10% in March but the state will “break daily prices” to tame the rise, government spokesperson Olivier Veran warned on Wednesday.

The French consumer price index increased to 6.2%, up from 6.0% in January, according to preliminary data from the statistics bureau Insee, issued on Tuesday.

Food inflation edged higher to 14.5% from 13.3%, service prices were up to 2.9% from 2.6%, while the prices of manufactured goods rose slightly to 4.6% from 4.5%, with the end of winter sales, according to the report. Energy prices jumped 14.0% year-on-year in February, Insee said. The EU-harmonized index stood at 7.2% compared to 7% in January.

The French government expects inflation at 10% this month, meaning that food prices will also increase by 10%, according to Veran. He warned that “this is not a one-time price increase; this is an annual inflation between March 2022 and 2023. Obviously, this affects the consumer basket and everyday life” for French households.

French inflation edges higher

“We work with large retailers, with manufacturers, so that, ultimately, when a French person goes shopping, whether in one brand or another, he can go and buy the products he needs on a daily basis at affordable prices,” the official added.

“We want everyone to take their share,” Veran stated, recalling that French President Emmanuel Macron had asked supermarket groups on Saturday to contain their margins to fight soaring food prices.

Earlier, the country’s authorities introduced the so-called “anti-inflation food basket” comprising about 50 basic items and obliged large retailers not to hike prices on these essentials. The measure is due to take effect this month.

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