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News > Latin America

Colombians To Live Christmas Amid Inflation and Goods Shortage

  • Customers check prices in a supermarket, Colombia, Dec. 2021.

    Customers check prices in a supermarket, Colombia, Dec. 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @AlbertoRodNews

Published 21 December 2021

Since large companies prefer to export their products to take advantage of the international commodity boom, shortage of products in retail markets turns basic goods into luxury items.

Colombians will receive Christmas and New Years amid an economic crisis that generates widespread dissatisfaction due to the loss of purchasing power, inflation, and shortages.


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The National Department of Statistics (DANE) reported that the November annual inflation rate reached 5.26 percent, a figure which exceeded the Central Bank's inflation target of 3 percent. The price increase was noticeable in products such as meat (30 percent), chicken (25 percent), eggs (13 percent), and milk (10 percent).

Besides being the consequence of President Ivan Duque's pro-market policies, this inflationary trend is related to difficulties for the importation of inputs and the expansion of external demand, which are two factors allowing big agri-food entrepreneurs to increase prices to the Colombian consumer.

"The trend towards increases in meat and milk prices will continue in 2022," said the director of the North Coast Cattlemen Association, Julian Saade, who explained that the international demand for meat will not allow the price of this good to decrease in domestic markets.

"On the contrary, this increase will continue in the coming years," he stressed, adding that the same will happen with the price of milk because "when the price of meat rises, farmers leave the milk to the calf to improve its fattening process."

Since Colombian companies prefer to sell their products in international markets, retailers fear running out of profits as high prices turn meat or milk into luxury items.

"Entrepreneurs will take the meat to those department stores where the middle and upper classes buy. Meanwhile, in informal markets like this one, we will not be able to distribute meat because here the People come to buy. If things continue like this, we will run out of meat," said Ramiro Cantillo, a retailer who works in the Bazurto market in Cartagena City.


Ivan Duque
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