Bread Price In Romania To Hike Over 15% In February

The price of bread in Romania will increase by over 15% as of February, after a 10% hike over the past four months, driven by wheat imports, Aurel Popescu, head of the Rompan employers association in the bread industry, told MEDIAFAX Friday.

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Bread Price In Romania To Hike Over 15% In February

"The price hike for wheat from EUR120 per ton in June to EUR170 in July and EUR200-220 in fall this year euro, as well as the raise in VAT to 24% from 19%, have driven the price of flour up by 60% and that of bread up by 10% in the past four months," Popescu said.

He added the price increases have reduced the official bread making market by 15%.

According to Rompan, out of a monthly consumption of 180,000 tons of bread countrywide, only 35% is accounted for in the official economy, while the rest is self-consumption and black market. By value, including the black market, bread sales in Romania are estimated at EUR1.3 billion per year.

"At a 60% hike in the price of flour, the bread price should have gone up 30% but the market could not have sustained this big an increase. Therefore, over 90% of bakers are currently working without profit or are incurring loss. Over the past four months, out of about 4,500 bread and milling companies, over 700 have gone out of business, that's more than 15%. Over 3,500 people in the industry have been left jobless," Popescu said.

He explained pressure on Romania and Bulgaria increased when Russia halted cereal exports this summer, and Romania exported about two million tons of wheat and will be forced to resort to imports in the first half of next year at a price 50% higher.

"Our calculations show bread prices will increase more than 15% as of February," Popescu said.

He added Romania's wheat output next year will be lower as cultivated surfaces are 25% smaller because of weather conditions, and bread prices are not expected to go back any time soon.

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