Sat, 02 Jul 2022

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The FAO's Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) site said that multiple factors have been pushing wheat and other staple food prices upwards. One is the rocketing price of fuel amid the Ukraine crisis, and another is that Russia and Ukraine are both major exporters of wheat.

ROME, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Italy's most traditional meal -- pasta, which comes in many different forms -- has been getting more expensive in recent months, and indications are that the trend is set to continue.

Be it spaghetti, lasagna or ravioli, almost all types of pasta made using wheat, and especially durum wheat, cost more today than they did even a few months ago, and this takes a big bite out of most families' food budgets.

"Over the last year, the price of wheat and the other raw materials we use to make and package our pasta has gone up at least 70 percent," Antonio Gentile, co-owner of Pastificio D'Aniello, a high-end pasta maker in Gragnano southeast of Naples, told Xinhua.

Gentile said that last year alone, the company raised its basic price from 5 euros (5.25 U.S. dollars) per kg to 6 euros -- an increase of 20 percent. This has dramatically reduced the company's margin on what it sells.

"We're trying not to raise prices too much, but if things continue as they are we'll probably have to raise prices again before the end of the year," Gentile said.

© Provided by Xinhua

On the international markets, durum wheat futures have more than doubled in the past 12 months, and the trend in staple food prices was similar.

The Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported in its monthly Food Price Index that global food prices reached an all-time high in March before retreating slightly in April. However, this falling trend has reversed since then.

The FAO's Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) site said that multiple factors have been pushing wheat and other staple food prices upwards. One is the rocketing price of fuel amid the Ukraine crisis, and another is that Russia and Ukraine are both major exporters of wheat.

The United States and Canada are also among the world's ten largest wheat producers, but their exports have been hit by the recent drought conditions there.

India is another leading wheat producer, but its 2022 output is likely to fall due to the recent scorching heat wave.

For the first time in years, the global wheat crop is projected to fall in 2022.

In Italy, the rising prices for pasta and other staples do not bode well for the country's fragile economic recovery.

Italy's economy contracted 0.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, following robust post-pandemic economic growth in 2021, according to the country's National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT).

© Provided by Xinhua

Economists told Xinhua that even if the country posts economic growth for the full year, that would be eroded by inflation that could reach 6 percent.

The European Commission said on Monday that it had trimmed its forecast for Italy's economic growth to 2.4 percent this year, compared to an earlier estimate of 4.1 percent expansion.

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