In October, the cost of toilet paper surged by 17.4% compared to September, while fresh fish prices experienced a corresponding decrease of 17.4%, as per the Consumer Protection Agency's Consumer Price Watch report. Out of 45 essential consumer goods categories, 28 saw a decrease, with 14 recording reductions of over 1% at the price index level.
The most significant drops were seen in fresh fish and mollusks at 17.4%, followed by vegetables/greens at 13.4%, pasta at 4.1%, frozen fish and meat at 3.8% each, bottled water at 1.8%, flour at 1.6%, and sugar at 1%.
Seventeen categories witnessed increases, notably in toilet paper by 17.4%, frozen mollusks and shellfish by 4%, fabric softeners by 3.1%, LPG cylinders by 2.7%, fresh meat by 1.7%, frozen fish pan/precooked by 1.7%, and Cypriot coffee by 1.5%.
Despite previous months' upward trends, inflation was contained at 3.5% in October, down from 4% in September and 2.6% in August, according to the Consumer Protection Service. Factors contributing to moderation included a decline in energy costs and a modest rise in food, particularly agricultural products, with an 8.74% increase in January-October compared to the previous year.
A survey by the Consumer Protection Agency highlighted significant price variations among supermarkets. On November 15, a price survey of 56 household products across three large Nicosia supermarkets revealed a 10% or €255.73 difference between the most expensive and cheapest baskets, with the middle basket at €247.44.
Additionally, the agency reported a consumer benefit of €5.74 on a €60 purchase due to the zero VAT rate on nine products starting November 1. Ongoing checks on the measure's implementation in nine hypermarkets across 58 outlets indicate positive effects on prices and inflation, with about 77% of products maintaining May 5 levels.
Consumers are urged to conduct thorough market research, considering the Observatory's results, before making purchases.