Tinned tomatoes and pasta cooking sauce saw the biggest price surges amid lockdown and the coronavirus surge here.
The price of canned tomatoes rose 12.4% month-on-month in April, whilse cooking sauce in a jar saw a price jump of 9.8% in the same timeframe. The price of toilet roll was up 5.2% in the month, whilst the cost of liquid soap increased by 2.4%, according to the latest Ulster Bank Lockdown Index.
It measures the prices of these key items that have been in high demand by consumers using the CPI (consumer price inflation) measure of inflation.
And while overall CPI rose 0.8% year-on-year in April, the Ulster Bank Lockdown Index increased 2.4%. The Lockdown Index increased by 3.2% month-on-month in April alone.
“Factors including intense demand for some items and the rising cost-base of the grocery supply chain have been influencing the price we pay for some goods,” Richard Ramsey, chief economist NI, Ulster Bank, said.
“The cost of introducing new working practices, acquiring PPE and adapting stores will likely have led retailers to try to recoup at least some of their additional cost burden.
“The intense demand for items like soap as well as things like hand sanitiser will have pushed up global prices, and retailers will have had to pass these on to consumers at least to some extent. So whilst the food and grocery retail sector has seen high demand, it will also have seen increased costs, which potentially squeezes profit.
“With regard to the overall inflation rate, petrol (-12.1%) and diesel (-12.8%) are down significantly on the year, influencing the overall figures, but for many the saving is an irrelevance as they aren’t using their vehicles much at present. Interestingly, over one-sixth of the items that normally make up the CPI basket of goods and services were unavailable to consumers during April, including the likes of hairdressing and cinema popcorn. So the Lockdown Index which doesn’t include these items is perhaps a better reflection of the price experience that many consumers are actually having at the minute.”