Thu | Dec 7, 2023

Italy anti-inflation pact expected to cut consumer costs by €4b

Published:Friday | September 29, 2023 | 9:43 AM

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni launched a pact Thursday with Italian industry aimed at keeping prices down on a range of essential goods, including food, personal care and baby items, which consumer advocates said could mean billions in savings for families.

The experimental programme runs from October 1 to December 31 and involves 32 associations that have agreed to discount or maintain a ceiling on the prices of particular items during the three-month period.

“I think this is the first time that the entire Italian system, from food production to general consumer products, has signed a pact with the government to keep prices in the shopping cart under control, to help families, especially those in difficulty,” Meloni said.

The Assountenti consumer group praised the project, calculating potential savings at €4 billion (US$4.22 billion), but said there were many unknowns, including exactly which products are included.

The industry players include supermarket chains, small retailers as well as food and drug producers. Participating stores are expected to signal their participation with stickers in the green, red and white colours of the Italian flag.

Inflation is a challenge for Italy’s government, even if it has fallen from peaks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Italy’s economic development minister, Adolfo Urso, said the country’s inflation has dropped below the European Union’s average, from 11.7 per cent when Meloni took office last October to 5.4 per cent in September.

The EU’s statistics office will release new inflation figures Friday. Consumer prices in August rose 5.9 per cent in the 27-nation EU from a year earlier and 5.2 per cent in the 20 countries using the euro currency. That’s down from the eurozone’s record-high 10.6 per cent in October 2022.