TIRANA, March 11
Albanians have been warned since September 2021 that the price of bread would increase. Back then, the bread price increased by 14 percent. However, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis caused a huge spike in bread prices over the last weeks. Despite, the above-mentioned reasons, citizens believe that wheat importers, flour traders, and bakers are imposing abusive prices. On the other hand, panic buying might have increased the flour prices artificially as many Albanians rushed to stock up flour as the war in Ukraine escalated and sanctions were imposed on Russia.
According to the data by OEC, in 2019 Albanian imported from Russia $36.6 million worth of wheat. This accounted for 79 percent of Albania’s total wheat import. The second source market for wheat import in 2019 was Serbia, which accounted for 14.5 percent of total wheat imports or $6.7 million. But, Serbia banned the export of wheat, corn, flour, and cooking oil starting Thursday, March 10th.
Other countries from where Albania imported wheat in 2019 were Italy, Croatia, France, North Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
According to Monitor magazine, the price for the standard big loaf of bread has increased by 25 percent. The price changed from Lek 80 to Lek 100. Meanwhile, the price of other types of bread has increased by Lek 20 within a couple of days.
Moreover, the magazine reports that even the flour price increased from Lek 45 to Lek 85 per kilogram.
There are over 3,000 bread bakeries all over Albania, while market operators said for Monitor magazine that flour costs are expected to spike again.