Good news for consumers

Further impact of ‘Stabbiltà’: second consecutive month-on-month fall in food prices.

According to the EU’s statistical agency, Eurostat, the rate of inflation in Malta fell again in March, to 2.7%, from 3% a month earlier. The rate observed in March was the lowest since December 2021.

A key factor behind the fall in the rate of inflation has once again been the development of food prices in our country. Food price inflation has fallen once more, now to 5%, down from 5.9% in February and 8.7% in January. The rate observed last March was the lowest in 27 months. This is in addition to being well below half the 11.5% rate observed in March last year.

Statistics published on the European Central Bank’s website show that the inflation rate of processed food in March was 5.4%, the lowest rate in more than two and a half years. This means that the inflation rate of processed food has decreased by 2% in two months, as in January it was 7.4%. If one looks at the inflation rate of unprocessed food, the rate has fallen to 3.5%, which is the lowest rate in the last three years.

While the ‘Stabbiltà’ scheme is intended to keep food prices stable after the reduction in February, when the scheme came into force, it appears that the impact of the decline is still spreading. This may be caused by the fact that more establishments are entering the scheme. Furthermore, products which are not in the scheme and which, therefore, ended up being priced higher than others, are also being reduced in price in order to remain competitive.

It should be noted that the figures published so far on March are still an estimate, and the final figures will be published on 17th April by Eurostat. In addition, the National Statistics Office publishes the Retail Price Index figures about a week later, on 23rd April. The impact of ‘Stabbiltà’ on the Retail Price Index is expected to be stronger because Eurostat’s inflation measurement gives a lot of importance to items consumed by tourists, including restaurant prices, flights, and hotels, and thus reduces the impact of essential food price changes on overall inflation measurement.

Photo: Gustavo Fring

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