According to the latest estimates from Eurostat, the EU's statistics bureau, inflation in the Eurozone has dropped to under 7% due to lower energy prices. However, for the twelfth month in a row Eurostat data shows that Croatia is among those countries with double-digit inflation.
According to preliminary estimates from the State Statistics Bureau inflation in March stood at 10.6%. If the data holds, this would mean that inflation has weakened for four consecutive months. Specifically, since November of last year when inflation came in at 13.5%. However, when analyzing the price of food, drinks and tobacco, when compared to March of last year, they are higher by 15.3%, while services have risen by more than 8%, and energy by 7.5%.
And while inflation is nominally weakening, it is still in the double digits, and when considering that food and drinks, which on average represents one third of the household budget in Croatia, are roughly 15% more expensive than in March last year, it is clear that citizens are getting hammered by inflation. The president of the Independent Trade Unions of Croatia, Krešimir Sever: "In spite of indications to the contrary, it is very clear that the situation is not stabilizing, and I'm afraid that as we approach the peak tourist season we will once again see growth in inflation."
SDP MP and former finance minister, Boris Lalovac, said that the latest figures do not take into consideration the fact that cumulatively the rate of inflation is actually at around 17%: "What is interesting is that they told us the entire time that this inflation is the result of high energy prices, but as you can see energy prices went up by 7.5 percent, while food prices have gone up by 15 percent. So, someone has to explain why food prices are rising at a rate double that of energy prices. This means that government's measures to suppress energy prices, are producing some results, but something else is happening on the market, and ultimately I think retailers will have to provide some kind of answer."
Lalovac concluded that government's capping of prices is of little use for citizens unless salaries and pensions grow accordingly.
Another sector that has seen prices skyrocket is the housing market. According to industry analysis, the average price of a square meter of a house rose last year to €1 863, which is 15% more than in 2021, while for a square meter of an apartment the average price is €2 658, which is up by 17%. Dubrovnik and Split are the most expensive cities in Croatia to buy real estate. For apartments the average price per square meter in Split is €3 495, and for a house €200 more. By way of comparison, in Osijek a square meter of apartment can be bought for €1 407. However, that is also up by 20% when compared to the previous year.
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