Food prices continue to soar in Brazil

food inflation brazil
Photo: Tânia Rêgo/ABr

Food products in Brazil became even more expensive in July, continuing a year-long trend of pronounced inflation. A survey by think tank Dieese shows the price of the basic basket of goods increased in 15 of 17 surveyed Brazilian state capitals (out of a total of 27) between June and July.

The sharpest increases came in Fortaleza (3.92%), Campo Grande (3.89%), Aracaju (3.71%), Belo Horizonte (3.29%), and Salvador (3.27%). Prices fell in federal capital Brasília and João Pessoa, in the Northeast.

Over the last 12 months, the price of the basic basket of goods saw double-digit increases in all state capitals surveyed by Dieese, with Brasília seeing the steepest increase — since June 2020, the cost of staple foods in the capital rose 29 percent. Another seven cities saw prices soar above 20 percent in this period.

Current prices mean that a worker on the minimum monthly wage (BRL 1,100, or USD 211) will spend 55.7 percent of their earnings on a single basic basket of goods. Dieese estimates that the minimum wage for a family of four should be five times larger than the current level. 

Food inflation fuels pessimism about the economy — especially among low-income citizens. Earlier this year, President Jair Bolsonaro asked vendors to “prove their patriotism” and reduce their margins to “next to zero” in order not to overburden poor consumers.