Pandemic-related disruptions to global supply chains and the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine have driven up prices of energy, commodities and necessities. Here’s how governments are trying to help hard-hit consumers and companies.
- Brazil’s Congress in December approved a constitutional amendment increasing the government spending cap to maintain welfare payouts to poor families in 2023.
- Colombia raised the minimum wage by 16% for 2023.
- Argentina’s government last year agreed with major oil companies in the country to cap fuel price rises, and signed a deal with supermarkets and mass consumer goods suppliers to freeze or tightly regulate prices of some 1,500 products.
- The U.S. government in November announced measures to lower home energy bills. The administration unveiled the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act in August.
- Mexico raised the minimum wage by 20% for 2023.
- European Union nations’ energy ministers in December agreed on a bloc-wide gas price cap. The cap will kick in from Feb. 15.
- Germany plans to spend 14.5 billion euros ($15.51 billion) to finance its electricity price cap until May as part of a package Berlin set out last year.
- France’s power suppliers agreed to offer small businesses struggling with price rises a guaranteed tariff per megawatt hour. President Emmanuel Macron had urged the likes of EDF and TotalEnergies to do more to help customers.
- Italy’s government plans to review and extend existing relief measures aimed at helping families and firms with energy prices.
- Spain’s coalition government is set to approve an 8% rise to the national minimum wage this year. In late December, the government announced 10 billion euros worth of relief measures.
- The Czech government in December approved raising the minimum monthly wage by 6.8% from 2023.
- Slovakia has approved price caps on electricity production depending on the type of fuel used, as it seeks revenue to help households.
- Denmark’s government has agreed with parliament to spend 2.4 billion Danish crowns ($344.94 million) on an aid package.
- Portugal limited the rise in the regulated price of electricity this year to 3.3% for around 1 million households and small businesses.
- Belarus last year banned consumer price rises.
- Croatia has capped electricity prices until March 1.
- New Zealand will extend the duration of cuts in fuel excise tax and public transport fares until the end of June.
- Wheat prices in India have dropped nearly 13% from record highs since the government in January allowed flour millers to buy up to 3 million tonnes of the grain from state reserves.
- The Philippines’ president has approved the economic ministry’s recommendation to extend lower tariff rates on rice and other food items up to the end of 2023.
- Australia last year passed legislation setting a price cap on natural gas for one year.
- Japan will spend $200 billion on a package including electricity and gasoline bill subsidies.
AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST:
- Under pressure from the government, Turkey’s largest grocery chains froze or cut prices of hundreds of products through January. The government raised the monthly minimum wage by 50% from the level determined in July.
- Egyptians are flocking to discounted “Ahlan (Welcome) Ramadan” markets that opened nearly three months ahead of the Muslim holy month. The supply ministry said the scheme, which offers basic commodities at cheaper prices than in the shops, will last until the end of April.
- Israel will cancel or cut back recent hikes in property taxes, water and energy costs, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in January.