Bread Prices Skyrocket as Inflation Grips Europe
The price of fresh bread in the European Union’s 28 member economies rose last year, putting pressure on local food economies and contributing to a spike in food prices across the continent.
The figures, released Thursday by the European Union’s statistics office, show that prices rose by 2.9 percent from 2012, the most recent year available.
The price of bread has increased by 3.4 percent in the year to the end of November compared to the same period last year, the statistics office said.
The rise in prices in 2012 was driven by rises in many bread staples, including wheat flour. Prices for wheat flour have increased by 10.8 percent in the past year.
The figures also show that prices for fruit and vegetables rose by 2.2 percent last year. Some vegetables have also increased in price, partly because of increases in the cost of imported food.
The data also show a big divergence between the level of inflation in the EU and the United States. Inflation in the EU, which includes five members of the European Union, has averaged just 1-3 percent over the past year, compared to 10-12 percent in the U.S.
The data come as the European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates next month, after a fall in the euro and bond yields made it easier for exporters to borrow in dollar-denominated exchange markets.
The head of the Eurogroup, Portuguese Prime Minister Antoni Avila, said Thursday that Portugal would be ready to do what was needed if the common currency were to lose value further.
The European Union is trying to avoid a crisis in the euro. But it’s not ready to cut off its membership in the currency bloc. It wants to see growth in the Eurozone – and the euro’s weakening against other currencies – to improve.
The U.S. Congress is expected to vote this week on whether to approve federal aid to help homeowners whose homes are worth less than the value of their mortgages. Economists project the bill would add roughly $2,500 (1,200 euros, £