The rise in prices has been dramatic. The International Monetary Fund predicts that world consumer prices will rise 4.3% this year, the biggest jump since 2011.
It is most pronounced in the developing economies of central and Eastern Europe, with the highest annual rates recorded in Lithuania (8.2%), Estonia (6.8%) and Hungary (6.6%). In Poland, one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies, inflation came in at 6.4% in October, the highest rate in two decades.
Several shoppers at a vegetable stand in Warsaw said they are anxious about rising prices for staples like bread and are expecting the situation to get worse in the new year, when energy prices are set to rise.
Piotr Molak, a 44-year-old vegetable vendor, said he has not yet had to raise prices on the potatoes, apples or carrots he sells but the cherry tomatoes he imports from Spain and Italy, which he buys in euros, have gotten far more expensive as Poland’s currency, the zloty, has weakened.
“We will mostly feel this in the new year when electricity goes up,” Molak said. “We are really going to feel it when we have to spend more on our home than on pleasure.”
The weakening of currencies across central and Eastern Europe against the U.S. dollar and euro is pushing up the price of imports and fuel and exacerbating the pinch from supply backups and other factors.