A decade ago, the average consumer basket in Serbia was worth less than 40,000 dinars and an average salary was almost enough to cover it.
According to data from December last year, an average family needed 74,057 dinars a month to cover basic costs. The average salary was almost 8,000 dinars less. Today, the cost of average consumer basket is 86% higher than it was 10 years ago, while the salary in dinars, according to the statistics, is 67% higher.
It is difficult to find an item in the list of staple foods that has become cheaper in recent decades. There are two exceptions. In late 2010, consumers were paying 51.18 dinars for a kilogramme of onions and at the end of last year, 45.16 dinars. Today, a kilo of sugar costs even less. It used to cost 79.34 dinars and today it costs 71 dinars. Among foodstuffs, honey is by far the most expensive. From 395 dinars, it has reached the price of 848 dinars.
“Last year was very bad all over the world,” the Association of Beekeeping Organisations of Serbia says and adds:” We had no acacia honey and modest quantities of other types of honey. The purchase price went from €4.3 in 2019 to €6.7 per kilogramme last year. Since the yield of sunflower was also quite low, the bees were starving. This led to an increase in prices. If the frost hits again now, we will be in big trouble. We are financially exhausted.”
Today, the so-called ‘poor’ foods, beans and rice, cost 55% more. The former went from 197 dinars per kilogramme to almost 306 dinars. The second went up from 129 dinars per kilo to 200 dinars. Wheat bread is also 47% more expensive: it used to cost 58.6 dinars and now costs 86.3 dinars. Sardines have become more expensive in the same proportion, from 654 to 980 dinars. It is similar with frankfurters: from 402, they have reached 600 dinars per kilogramme. Apples used to cost 60 and now 91 dinars per kilo.
Food, it seems, has not been the main driver of the increase in consumer basket prices. Costs were significantly influenced by utility prices. Utilities and electricity cost 7,245 dinars per family ten years ago. Today, these items cost twice as much, i.e. 14,755 dinars.
Transport is now 5,347 dinars, whereas previously it was 2,650 dinars. Communication (phone and the Internet) used to cost 219 dinars and today 2,128 dinars. Cigarettes used to cost 2,550 dinars a month and about 300 dinars were spent on alcoholic beverages. Now, these two combined add to 7,041 dinars.
Statistics also show that the price of beef has risen by 36%, chicken by 25% and pork by only 10%. The cost of bacon went up 22% and instead of 644 it now costs 791 dinars per kilo.
(Vecernje Novosti, 22.04.2021)
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