Since the beginning of summer, we have been riding the wave of a constant increase in prices. And it’s not just fuel and energy prices that have increased. What’s worse, experts predict that inflation will rise to 7 percent at the turn of the year.
Definitely, the most expensive items in recent weeks and months were energy, gasoline, but also tomatoes and iceberg lettuce.
The rise in energy prices was accelerated by the fall of one of the larger suppliers, Bohemia Energy in mid-October. Last resort suppliers, to whom the liabilities of more than 600,000 households were subsequently transferred, were able to offer new customers energy at current market prices, which were rising sharply by then. That is why billing information from these suppliers showed amounts often up to 3 or 4 times higher than those from late summer.
Lukáš Kovanda, Trinity Bank's chief economist, confirmed the rise in energy prices and their impact on inflation for LP-Life.
"The current inflation is the highest we’ve had in the last ten years, not only in the Eurozone, but also in the Czech Republic, with energy prices, which have risen in price by 15 percent year on year, having the biggest effect on its acceleration."
At the same time, some suppliers have already announced further price increases. In the case of one of the largest suppliers, the ČEZ Group, this means an average increase by one third in the most common rates from January next year. However, this will not apply to households that already have prices fixed for next year.
Shopping for groceries naturally also has a big impact on our daily expenses. In this segment, the price of iceberg lettuce has risen the most. We now pay over 60 percent more for it than a year ago. In the case of tomatoes, it is about 58 percent. Vegetables grown in greenhouses belong to the commodities, where the costs are reflected in the final price the most.
But we should also note that butter costs nearly twice as much as it used to as well, while the prices of margarine have risen by a fifth. This is due to the rise in oilseed prices, caused by the reduction of rapeseed areas. In the case of bread, prices have risen by one third. This year’s harvest was rather meagre, though, which means that the prices of bread and other pastries will likely continue to climb.
Furthermore, we also pay significantly more for coffee. Due to bad weather accompanied by large fluctuations in the form of drought and frosts, production decreased, which caused a year-on-year jump in prices by 11 percent. Sugar crystal and, by default, some chocolates and sweets saw a similar development.
Gasoline is currently the most expensive it has been since the end of October 2012. Year on year, the prices of Natural have climbed by 9.50 crowns on average, meaning it costs about ¼ more than last year. In the case of diesel, it is 9 crowns. This was caused by higher oil prices, which rose by 20 percent in September and October alone, as well as by the stronger dollar.
According to experts, however, fuels could gradually become cheaper. In some regions, such as Liberec, Vysočina or Hradec Králové, it’s actually already happening. In other parts of the country, such as southern Bohemia, prices have at least begun to stagnate.
The construction industry was hit by inflation particularly hard. According to construction companies, the prices of plastic pipes increased by 60 to 90%, metallurgical products by 60% and wood products by 40 to 130%.
"Cement prices are rising, which is reflected in the increase in the prices of concrete mixes, as well as ceramic tiles, pavings and masonry materials. Their prices are expected to increase by 15 to 20 percent in the near future, "
Housing is also more expensive. Since 2015, the prices of new flats in Prague alone have more than doubled, reaching the niveau of 130,000 Czech crowns per m2. Due to higher prices of building materials, the lack of these flats on the market and the slow approval of the prepared projects, they cannot be expected to become any cheaper.
Thankfully, there are also a number of items whose prices haven’t changed - in some cases, they’ve even dropped. One such example is potatoes, which cost 5 percent less úer kilogram year on year. In the case of apples, it's 15 percent. A kilogram of pork is 20 to 25 percent cheaper. That means it costs as much as it did 20 years ago, which naturally makes meat processors very concerned.
"Pork sellers are facing a previously unimaginable crisis. At present, they are selling live pigs at prices we had in 1991. At that time, the average wage in Czechoslovakia was about four thousand crowns,"
President of the Agricultural Union Martin Pýcha complained to CNN Prima News. According to his words, this was caused, among other things, by the African plague, which occurred in pigs in neighbouring Germany. Due to this, the Germans cannot export their meat to billion-dollar China and other foreign countries, and can only trade it on the European continent. This obviously pushes its price down.
Some services, such as accommodation, are also cheaper, especially in larger cities, where there is a noticeable drop in the number of visitors from abroad. In a three-star hotel in Prague, for example, a traveller could find accommodation for an average of 708 crowns per night in August, making Prague the cheapest of all the tourist regions in the Czech Republic.
However, more prices are expected to increase in the coming weeks. Energy prices, for example. However, in some cases, such as that of petrol, prices have probably already hit the ceiling. All in all, it looks like we'll be paying extra again next year.