New Year toast

New Year promises “generalised increase in prices”

From bread to gas, there is not much to look forward to

Clinking glasses and wishing one and all a Happy New Year is all well and good, but it  won’t stop the ‘generalised increase’ in everyday costs.

Explain reports today, prices pretty much everywhere will be going up. “From bread to gas”, says SIC television news, admitting this is an “habitual updating of prices and tariffs” that happens every year on January 1. But somehow this year, with the spiralling cost of living, it sounds more ominous.

In Lisbon and Porto, the only ‘relief’ is the fact that monthly bus passes will not be increasing. The cost of individual fares will be (from 1% to 6.1%), but considering the majority of bus passengers purchase passes (as these are more economical), the decision to keep these static has been taken with inflation in mind.

But that’s about where authorities’ consideration stops. Bread, gas, electricity, motorway tolls, rents, they are all increasing.

Rent increases have been pegged by decree at 2%. Electricity in the regulated market will be going up by 1.6%; gas by 3%.

The problem with all these increases, explains SIC, is that they will ‘reflect’ on businesses. As running costs increase, so too will prices to the consumer.

Bread, which has already increased through the year and a real staple of the Portuguese diet, is certain to suffer another increase, but as yet “no-one knows by how much”, adds the station.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com