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The products that are more expensive than ever in Spain due to the war in Ukraine

Supply chain problems, energy price rises and raw material costs are pushing up the price of several essential products in Spain. Here's how the war in Ukraine could impact your food shop and other daily expenses.

The products that are more expensive than ever in Spain due to the war in Ukraine
Bread prices could rise in coming weeks. Sixty-five per cent of the wheat imported to Spain comes from Ukraine. Photo by PAU BARRENA / AFP

Buying basic food products like bread, milk or pasta could soon hit people’s wallets harder, as the Ukraine crisis causes disruption in supply chains and rising energy bills.

It comes after inflation in Spain accelerated in February to its fastest pace in nearly 33 years. This acceleration has already driven up the price of food, beverages, fuel and energy.

Here are the products that are likely to see a price rise in the coming weeks:

EXPLAINED: How Spain could be impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

1. Wheat products like bread and pasta

Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s top wheat exporters. When Russian forces invaded Ukraine, global chain supply was put at risk and the price of wheat jumped to its highest levels since 2012.

As much as 65 percent of the wheat imported to Spain comes from Ukraine. The price of wheat had already gone up 25 per cent in the past few months, and in the past two weeks, it has gone up by 10 percent, according to Antena 3 news.

2. Petrol

Russia is one of the biggest energy producers in the world, and oil prices have surged since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, despite measures aimed at calming markets.

Brent crude – the international benchmark for oil prices – hit $113 a barrel this week, bringing it to the highest level since June 2014.

Petrol and diesel prices had already skyrocketed in recent weeks. In early February, petrol reached a record high €1,53/litre.

It has since continued to rise to €1,60/litre, while diesel is currently at €1,49/litre.

3. Electricity

The EU is the largest importer of natural gas in the world, with the largest share coming from Russia (41 percent).

The price of gas has already gone up by 60 per cent in the past few days. In Spain, it reached historic highs at €195/MWh.

The price of electricity has gone up 16.8 per cent due to the crisis in Ukraine.

The Spanish government has said that prices are expected to continue to rise, but there is no current threat to gas supplies, as Russia is not one of the country’s main suppliers.

4. Sunflower oil

Ukraine provides Spain with a lot of sunflower oil. Around 63 percent of the sunflower imported to Spain comes from Ukraine.

This may not seem like the most essential product, but a lot of other food products contain sunflower oil.

5. Housing

The fuel price increase will have an overall impact on the price of all products and commodities, resulting in construction costs for new buildings also rising.

Every year, landlords are allowed to increase the price of rent according to inflation, which means renting could also become more expensive.

6. Meat, milk, eggs and other animal products

Russia is the world’s main producer of grain crops, above the US and Canada. Grain is used to make animal feed, so an increase in prices could indirectly affect animal products like ham, eggs and milk.

“In ten days, the price of raw materials, like wheat and corn, has gone up between 30 and 60 percent,” Jorge De Saja, director of Cesfac (Spain’s Confederation of Animal Food Producers) told Business Insider.

Practically half of all maize imports to Spain are, or were, from Ukraine.

READ ALSO: The goods in Spain that were already more expensive than ever due to inflation

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WHAT CHANGES IN SPAIN

KEY POINTS: What changes in Spain in July 2022?

July sees the start of the summer holidays in Spain and brings with it new crisis handouts, VAT cuts on energy bills, travel chaos and a possible deal on UK driving licences. Join The Local Spain as a member to find out about this and plenty more.

KEY POINTS: What changes in Spain in July 2022?

€200 crisis payment available in July 

As part of their new draft of measures to help those struggling with the rising cost of living, the Spanish government announced they would give a one-off €200 handout to the most vulnerable individuals.

The payment plan is set to be activated this month and you can find out who is eligible and how to apply for it here.

According to Spain’s Tax Minister María Jesús Montero, approximately 2.7 million people in Spain will be able to benefit from the scheme. Individuals can request the €200 payment, as can families, but only one payment per household is allowed.

VAT on electricity bills cut by half 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez recently announced that the government would apply a further reduction in VAT on electricity bills, which has now been approved by the cabinet. This means that a VAT reduction, from 10 to five percent, will be applied to electricity bills from July onwards.  

Find out how much you could save on your electricity bill with the new VAT discount here

Travel chaos continues

In the lead-up to the summer holidays, there has been travel chaos across Europe, including in Spain, due to flight cancellations, staff shortages and strikes. Unfortunately, the travel misery is only set to continue into July as several Spain-based cabin crew, including those from easyJet, Ryanair and Lufthansa have announced strikes.

EasyJet staff are scheduled to go on a nine-day strike on July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 15th, 16th, 17th, 29th, 30th and 31st. Meanwhile, the Ryanair strike, which started on June 24th will continue on July 1st and 2nd. Over 54 flights have already been cancelled by the low-cost airline and more than 300 have been delayed.

German carrier Lufthansa and its budget airline brand, Eurowings are also planning to cancel more than 3,000 flights this summer due to both staff shortages and strikes. This is expected to affect flights from the hubs of Frankfurt and Munich to Spain, among others. 

Could there finally be a deal on UK driving licences?

The British Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott recently shared his latest update on the driving licence negotiations between the UK and Spain, indicating a possible agreement to have affected drivers back on the road by the end of July 2022.

“The UK and Spain are now in agreement on the core issues that have been problematic and we’re now very close to finalising the actual text of the agreement,” he explained.

This will be a great relief for many British residents in Spain who were unable to exchange their licence for a Spanish one and haven’t been allowed on the roads since May 1st 2022.

Scorching weather returns to Spain in July

After a brief respite from the mid-June heatwaves, the hot weather is set to return in July. According to the weather site Meteored, the first week of July will see storms and unpredictable weather in the north of the country, while temperatures could reach over 40°C in the south of the country around Córdoba and Seville.

The middle of the month from July 11th to 17th is set to see temperatures rise again. It’s likely that much of Extremadura and Andalusia will experience temperatures around 40°C, while it could also reach 38°C in Bilbao and Madrid.

The last two weeks of July will get even hotter with Meteored predicting the hottest temperatures of the whole year. Temperatures are expected to be above normal in all regions apart from along the Cantabrian coast and in the Canary Islands.

Summer sales go into full throttle

July 1st sees the official start of the summer sales throughout much of Spain, although many stores have started even earlier. With rising costs due to inflation, this is the time of year to benefit from some of the biggest discounts.

Amazon has two days scheduled for its sales from July 12th-13th, while H&M and all the retail stores belonging to Spanish clothing giant Inditex (Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Pull & Bear and Stradivarius) are also due to have their sales this month.

After the start of the sales, you’ll see signs for “segundas rebajas” (second sales), then “terceras rebajas” and finally “remate final” (final push), where discounts progressively go from 30 percent to 40, then 50 and finally down to an incredible 70 percent price reduction. 

Imserso holiday scheme for pensioners kicks off 

Imserso is a social scheme offering holidays to the elderly, which aim to offer subsidised trips to pensioners. Applications for the vacation scheme this year are open from June 27th to July 19th and usually run during the low season from October. Find out how to apply here.

Depending on the dates you go and the type of accommodation you stay in, you will usually have to pay between €115 and €405 for the trip.

Vehicles in Spain need to have Intelligent Speed Assistance

New cars sold in Spain and across the EU must have automatic Intelligent Speed Assistance technology from July 6th as part of the General Safety Regulation.

All newly launched models will need to have Intelligent Speed Assistance systems installed as standard. The idea is to limit speeds and warn drivers to slow down if they’re over the legal speed limit.

Festivals in Spain in July

July sees a whole host of festivals and celebrations across the country. Most famous are the San Fermín Running of the Bulls, held in Pamplona from July 6th – 14th and the Fiestas de Santiago Apóstol, held in the Galician city on July 25th.

Other festivities taking place in July include Bilbao’s BBK music festival from the 7th to the 9th and the Moors and Christians parades in Villajoyosa from the 23rd to 24th, commemorating the battle of 1538.

Pride celebrations are also set to return in July. Madrid’s LGBTIQ+ festival will take place from July 1st to 10th throughout many areas of the city but concentrated around Chueca.

New law to improve rights of domestic workers

A new law could be approved this month to improve the rights of domestic workers so that they have the same rights as other workers, such as the right to unemployment benefits and proper wages.

A third of the 536,100 domestics (mostly women) who work in Spain are not signed up to Spain’s social security system, according to the country’s Labour Force Survey. Two out of every three have earnings around the minimum wage bracket.

Early last year the Spanish government sent out letters to Spanish households who employ workers to warn them of their obligations.

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