Reversing the trend

How the ‘Stabbiltà’ scheme changed the trend in food prices.

After August 2023, the inflation rate of food products in the European Union fell below that in Malta. From October, the divergence became even more pronounced, with the country’s food prices started to accelerate while those in Europe were falling. Thanks to the ‘Stabbiltà’ initiative, this has changed, and food price inflation has started to fall again in Malta and move towards the European average.

A clear example of this is the evolution of the price of coffee. While, across Europe, the price of coffee has been falling for over a year, in Malta it started to rise after the summer, reaching an inflation rate six times higher than the European average by January. In February, the rate of inflation of coffee prices in Malta fell from 15.6% to 6.5%, and came closer to the European average.

Another example is frozen vegetables. Here, the price trend in Malta had gone against that across Europe, so much so that, while prices in the country had continued to rise, in neighbouring countries they were moderating. Following the launch of ‘Stabbiltà’, the inflation rate of these prices in Malta fell from 14% to 7%, and came very close to the rate in the European Union.

The same situation characterised margarine price inflation. While across the Union inflation had fallen sharply, coming below that in Malta after July, in our country the rate of inflation went the other way, rising rather than falling. Following the introduction of ‘Stabbiltà’, inflation in this product here in Malta decreased from a positive 9.2% to a negative 4.8%. Even here, now the trend has become like the one across Europe.

‘Stabbiltà’ has also led to a substantial change in the prices of processed fish, especially canned tuna. Again, here the trend in our country was different from that in the rest of the Union. Following the introduction of the scheme, inflation changed from being more than twice the European average to a situation where prices are lower than they were a year earlier.

Finally, when it comes to cereal products, the trend in prices followed that in Europe, except from November onwards, when prices started to accelerate, unlike in the rest of Europe. After ‘Stabbiltà’ was launched, inflation in this category fell from 13% to less than 8% in just one month.

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