Eurostat published data on the changes in the price of bread in the last year. The figures show a big rise in the European Union, and Hungary leads the list.
“In August 2022, the price of bread in the EU was on average 18 percent higher than in August 2021. This is a huge increase compared with August 2021, when the price of bread was on average 3 percent higher than in August 2020.” – reports Eurostat. This is a dramatic increase indeed but it is not even close to what is happening in Hungary.
At the low end of the graph, France got away with an 8.2 percent increase, less than half of the EU average. On the other end of the list, Lithuania experienced a 33 percent rise while both Estonia and Slovakia saw a 32 percent surge. However, on the very left, Hungary stands out with a column almost twice as tall as the second place’s.
Hungarian bread prices have increased by 66 percent within just a year since August 2021.
The main reason for this is that Russia and Ukraine were major exporters of grains, wheat, maize, oilseeds (particularly sunflowers) and fertilisers. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, both countries’ production and export came to a halt, causing a disturbance in the global market.
It did not help either that there was a severe drought in the summer and the grain harvest was poor. On top of that, energy costs have skyrocketed recently and the prices in the labour market continued to surge also. Hungarian bakers had already warned customers back in January that the mills would significantly raise the price of flour, writes HVG. Since this occurred before the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine war, it indicates that the roots of the issue are not connected to the geopolitical conflict.