Monday 22 January 2018

Food bills fall - unless you're dining out

The cost of groceries is on the rise
The cost of groceries is on the rise
Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

THE cost of the weekly grocery bill has fallen in the last year, but eating out has become more expensive.

New inflation figures from the Central Statistic Office show that the cost of living has risen by 0.3pc over the past 12 months despite a 0.2pc drop in prices in July.

Food and beverage prices fell by 3pc, mainly down to drops in the cost of grocery staples such as meat, bread and cereals.

Potato prices fell by a particularly hefty 30pc with ice-cream and vegetables both down by over 8pc in the last year.

Nonetheless the price of eating and drinking out rose by 2.4pc, mainly down to sharp rises in the price of alcohol.

However even restaurant, cafe, fast food and takeaway prices rose by 1.6pc.

And as Ireland's tourism industry rebounded the price of hotel and other accommodation rose by 3.4pc.

Meanwhile, drinking at home wouldn't save you from the excise hikes as the price of spirits, wine and beer all rose by over 3pc in off-licences.

Furniture prices are down by 8.8pc in the last year helped by the summer sales last month, while the cost of domestic appliances also fell.


Clothes prices fell by a 7.4pc last month again although this was again mainly down to the summer sales, but they're still around 4pc cheaper than a year ago.

Education costs are up by 4.5pc in the year which is mainly down to higher third-level charges.

Communications costs fell by 5.1pc as mobile phone companies reduced prices as they battled for business. A hike in the price of stamps will filter through to the next set of inflation figure.

David McNamara of Davy stockbrokers said that low European Central Bank interest rates were continuing to drag down inflation with repayment costs down 9.3pc in the year to July, though private rents rose 8.2pc.

"With current low interest rates and import prices, the outlook for inflation remains weak. Nevertheless, a weaker euro may begin to put upward pressure on import prices in the second half of the year," he said.

However inflation was likely to remain well below 1pc this year.

Some analysts have warned that the trade standoff with Russia could filter through to higher energy costs in coming months.

Irish Independent

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