A monthly report released by the Armenian government’s Statistical Committee shows particularly drastic increases in the prices of imported key foodstuffs such as cooking oil and sugar. They were up by more than 40 percent from January 2020.
The prices of bread, dairy products and eggs rose by about 8 percent, said the Statistical Committee. It also reported a roughly 10 percent surge in the cost of fruits and vegetables mostly grown in Armenia.
Meat and products made from it were the only foodstuffs that have essentially not become more expensive since January 2020, the official statistics show.
Consequently, consumer price inflation in the country reached 4.5 percent last month, according to the committee report, surpassing a full-year target of 4 percent set by the government for 2021. It already rose significantly in December.
In a bid to curb the higher-than-projected inflation, the Central Bank of Armenia has twice raised its key interest rate since December 15.
The surge in food prices was caused in part by a major depreciation of the Armenian dram. The national currency has lost more than 7 percent of its nominal value against the U.S. dollar in the past year.
The surge also appears to reflect a global trend. In a recent report, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that world food prices rose in November to the highest level in six years. It described the coronavirus pandemic as “an important driver of the levels of global food insecurity.”
The pandemic was the main factor behind an estimated 8 percent contraction of Armenia’s GDP in 2020.