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Japan faces ‘summer of price hikes’

Major producers of food and beverages in Japan are planning to raise prices for 3,615 items from June, while the total number of items that are expected to see price hikes will total some 8,400 this year, according to a poll carried out by Teikoku Databank.

“This summer looks to be a summer of price hikes,” The Japanese Times quotes the survey published by the credit research firm earlier in May. As a result, over 80% of the items set for price jumps from June onward will see the change take effect that month or in July.

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The 105 food and beverage manufacturers that were surveyed have already increased prices on 4,770 items from January through May. The number includes a wide range of products from spices, vegetables, meat and fish to sweets and alcoholic drinks.

The price hikes are coming on the back of soaring energy costs as well as the growing cost of raw materials. The surging cost of wheat and cooking oil will reportedly raise the prices of 3,609 processed foods, such as ham, sausages, cup noodles, and frozen foods, with the average hike coming in at 13%.

READ MORE: Japan’s debt soars to historic high

The latest jump in the cost of wheat is mainly caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West in response. Russia and Ukraine are major global producers and exporters of grains.

A rise in crude oil prices is expected to further send the price of plastic bottles soaring as well. Alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, shochu and chuhai cocktails made from shochu or vodka are expected to see price hikes of 15% due to the soaring cost of malt and corn.

The impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has further challenged supply chains that were already under strain due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the report. Teikoku Databank warned that further increases in the cost of raw materials could cause other price hikes that would continue into the fall and beyond.

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