Japan to see food and tobacco price hikes from October

Japan will experience higher prices for some food, services and tobacco products from October. Partly because of the surge in global commodity prices, the rise is a further blow to households affected by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Friday, dairy producers Meiji Co. and Megmilk Snow Brand Co. will raise the prices of their margarine products as international prices have soared due to increased global demand and a drop in production in the main production areas due to bad weather.

For Meiji, the retail price will increase up to 12.8% and the Megmilk Snow brand will pass on up to 12.2%.

Food and beverage maker Ajinomoto AGF Inc. is raising the price of its 40 coffee products, estimating they will rise by about 20%.

Ajinomoto AGF said he expects the inflated market rate to hold for now, citing the expected recovery in global demand for coffee with the gradual resumption of economic activities after the pandemic.

Under repeated government state of emergency declarations regarding the pandemic since the spring of last year, people have been urged to refrain from non-essential outings while businesses have been urged to temporarily close or shut down. shorten their opening hours.

The Japanese economy has yet to regain its pre-pandemic levels, mainly due to weak consumer spending, which could also be affected by rising prices.

Following an increase in the cigarette tax in October, Japan Tobacco Inc. will revise its prices, with the price per pack of Seven Stars, one of the company’s iconic brands, going from 560 ($ 5) to 600.

Among other price hikes starting in November, the major frozen food maker Nichirei Foods Inc. will increase the prices of consumer products by about 4 to 8 percent. Commercial sales prices will increase by around 3-10% in order to “maintain current product quality and a stable supply”.

Residents will also face higher utility bills in November.

The average household’s monthly electricity bill will be 73 to 171 yen higher than in October, while the average household’s natural gas bill is expected to increase by up to 91 yen, power companies say and gas across the country. .

Japanese households will also see price changes for other products such as bread from next year.

The prices of udon bread and noodles will increase around January, following the announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of a price increase of 19% on average for six months from October for wheat imported by the government and sold to private flour mills. .

The Agriculture Ministry cited “sustained purchases from China” and “a sharp increase in ocean freight costs” behind its decision to raise prices.

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