A local market last week. / MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ

Families in Malaga are spending 65 euros a month more on food now than a year ago

Prices in the province have risen by 16.2%, more than anywhere else in Spain, with the exception of Badajoz (18.6%) and Cuenca (17.7%)

JAVIER LÓPEZ MALAGA.

The latest inflation figures were recently released by Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE) and they do not make pleasant reading. They show that shoppers in Malaga province are paying 16.2% more for basic food items than they did a year ago, which is significantly above the national average (14.4%) and behind only Badajoz (18.6%) and Cuenca (17.7%).

To be specific, analysts say that families in Malaga are now paying 65.21 euros a month more for their shopping than they did at this time last year. This has been worked out by taking the Consumer Price Index data for September and the report on food consumption in Spain 2021 which was published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

That document said that each person in Spain spends an average of 1,610.30 euros on food a year. With the INE showing that food prices have risen in Malaga by 16.2% in a year, that would bring the annual total per person to 1,871.16 euros, a difference of 260.86 euros.

Dividing that by the 12 months of the year, it is an increase of 21.73 euros a month, and as the INE states that the average family in Spain consists of three members, each household now has to pay 65.21 euros more a month than it did a year ago.

Basic food items

Looking at the detail, consumer figures for Spain as a whole show that the price of vegetable oil has risen by 14.1% in a year, eggs have gone up by 23.6%, milk by 25.5%, bread by 14.9%, rice by 13.2%, flour by 39.4% and pasta by 29.6% in just 12 months. The price of baby food has also risen by 17.3% during that time.

Nor is this the only problem: energy prices have also risen by 22.4% in a year in Malaga province, although it should be noted that this is below the national average.

The Consumer Price Index for September showed that inflation in Malaga last month was 9.4%, which was slightly lower than predicted but still a matter of concern for households and businesses.

The situation is not exclusive to Malaga or Spain, experts stress: it is something that is affecting the world economy.

Unsurprisingly, rising inflation has led to drastic decisions from the European Central Bank, including an aggressive policy of increasing interest rates in an attempt to 'cool' the economy. The plan is to tighten the capacity for spending and borrowing in order to slow down the rise in prices.

One of the consequences of this policy has been a steep increase in mortgage repayments for those with variable-interest loans. These account for three out of every four Spanish mortgages. And to add to householders' difficulties, general bank commissions in this country have risen by 10.6% in the past year.