The latest report by the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) revealed that agricultural prices have been experiencing a downward trend for the past five months. However, there was a slight increase in prices after seven months of decline.
During September, agricultural prices saw a year-on-year decrease of 13.4%, three percentage points less than in August. On a month-to-month basis, prices increased by 1.7%. In the industrial sector, producer prices experienced a year-on-year increase of 0.8% and a month-on-month increase of 0.3%.
The report highlighted specific changes in various agricultural products. Potatoes saw a significant increase of 29% compared to August, while poultry prices rose by 5.1%. Fresh vegetables and oilseeds also experienced higher prices, with gains of 1.1% and 0.9% respectively. On the other hand, fruit prices decreased by 12.3%, while prices for pork and milk declined by 3.8% and 1.2%, respectively.
There was a substantial year-on-year decrease of 17.9% in crop production. Oilseeds and cereals were cheaper by 34.4% and 32.2% respectively. However, there were increases in the prices of fresh vegetables (+9.6%), fruit (+15.2%), and potatoes (+58.3%).
The decline in agricultural producer prices has raised concerns among economists. According to Radomír Jáč, Chief Economist at Generali Investments, the downward trend is expected to continue in the coming months, potentially deepening in November and December.
The Czech National Bank had previously forecasted a year-on-year decrease of 10.6% in agricultural prices for the third quarter, but the actual decline was more significant at 14.7%. This development has prompted discussions about the possibility of gradual monetary policy easing by the central bank.
On a positive note, the industrial sector experienced price increases in electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning by 4.4%, as well as in coal and lignite by 67.1%. However, prices for coke, refined petroleum products, primary metals, wood, and cork products decreased.
The report also emphasized a decline in food production prices by 1.1% on a month-to-month basis. This is considered the highest decrease in food prices this year. However, the recent upward trend in crop production may reverse the overall decline in food prices.
In the construction sector, prices for consumed materials and products slightly decreased by 0.1% year-on-year. In comparison, market services for businesses saw an increase in prices for employment services by 22.9% and postal and courier services by 13.2%.