The French government has sought to play down the risk of ‘double figure’ inflation in 2023, after the head of supermarket giant E. Leclerc said it was already happening when it comes to food prices.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said that he was not expecting to see such high price increases in all sectors, despite Michel-Édouard Leclerc warning that a “tsunami” of high prices could be on the horizon.
Mr Le Maire told FranceInfo: “We will not have double-figure inflation across most French products in 2023. All of our policies are aiming for inflation to fall. That is our work’s central hypothesis.”
The Economy Ministry has estimated that prices will have risen “a little more than 5%” across all sectors by the end of 2022.
Inflation ➡️ "Nous n'aurons pas d'inflation à deux chiffres en 2023. L'inflation va être d'un peu plus de 5% sur 2022 mais elle reste la plus faible d'Europe", souligne Bruno Le Maire. "Toute notre politique vise à ce qu'en 2023, l'inflation reflue." pic.twitter.com/UnfFBgKik7— franceinfo (@franceinfo) November 21, 2022
Mr Le Maire was responding to comments from Mr Leclerc, who said on November 8 that people in France should expect to see “double figure” inflation when it comes to food products in 2023. The minister admitted that “double-figure inflation is already a reality for food products”.
A recent report from national financial auditor l’Inspection générale des finances (IGF), dated November 6, said: “Some food products have seen particularly high price rises, for example, 60% for oils, 22% for flour, 20% for pasta, and 16% for poultry” over the past year.
Mr Le Maire also said that inflation is still “very high…which is extraordinarily difficult for all of our citizens”.
However, he said that the government was still working to temper the worst of the rises, with continuing electricity and gas price caps, and rebates on petrol until the end of the year.
Despite this, prices are not expected to drop within the next few months. In August this year. Mr Le Maire predicted: “Until the end of the year 2022, we will continue to see very high prices.
“And then, at the start of 2023, at least, that’s what we’re predicting, we will start to see prices and inflation begin to retreat. That will happen gradually.”