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Economy

Cyprus Moves to Reduce Soaring Fuel, Food Price Hikes for Consumers

NICOSIA – Cyprus’ government has announced measures to deal with price hikes that have cut into household budgets, including for fuel, electricity, and for food as buyers are shifting more toward generic and store brands.

That came after a Cabinet meeting led by President Nikos Christodoulides and Finance Minister Makis Keravnos, and included extending targeted subsidies for the cost of electricity for May and June and the continued reduction of electricity tariffs.

There will also be a one-time subsidy for fuel costs for eligible households, to be distributed in April, May and June. The government will distribute a 100-euro ($108) one-time benefit for transit allowance recipients and for low-pension retirees.

Christodoulides said his government wanted to deal with poverty especially because of the basic necessity of fuel and food and pointed to previous financial packages of 255 million euros ($275) that were directed toward the most needy.

The Cyprus Consumers Association said raw material costs could add another 2 cents per liter to fuel prices, which will turn into 10 cents at the gasoline pump by mid-April, just as the spring season is in full.

That could see a change in consumer habits and driving, with concerns that people could spend less to offset the expected hikes in fuel expenses and as supermarket officials said people are going away from more expensive brand names.

Data from the Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) saw a jump in the use of credit and debit cards, away from cash, across retail sectors and – despite inflation and budget worries – people still buying electrical appliances and fast food.

The Office for National Statistics said retail turnover index showed a difference between the increase in value and volume of transactions, indicating where spending is going up that it’s because of higher costs and not people buying more items.

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