An air of fatalism prevailed outside one of Nicosia’s busiest supermarkets on Thursday, as shoppers told us that they will simply have to accept the increased prices on core goods – as a common reply was: “Are we going to stop buying eggs and milk?”

A perfect storm of inflation, a crunch in supply chains attributed to the pandemic and weather are the main factors cited in recent chilling reports that costs on key goods have risen, ranging from 11 per cent to 50 per cent.

“Everything is going up and it’s easy for prices to go up but will they go back down? They hardly ever go down,” Niovi Efstathiou, a pensioner in her 60s outside a central Nicosia supermarket told the Cyprus Mail.

“Since energy is going up, everything is going up, it’s upsetting – I’m not worried about myself but for other groups, those on minimum wage or on disability benefits,” she said, adding, “already I’ve noticed in the bakeries that food is becoming more expensive.”

We asked Andreas Hadjiadamou of the Cyprus Supermarkets Association (Pasype) to put the current price surge into perspective – as he told us there is an average 20 per cent increase across the board. Such a wide-ranging shock is highly unusual, he said.

Officials anticipate that the market forces will in due course at least partly blunt the shock by sharing out the burden along the supply chain from production to consumers.

Put simply, it is hoped that no single actor in the process will shoulder all the increase which will instead be metred out more evenly.

“We’ve certainly had increases in certain sectors before, on a limited number of products, but this time the surge is on almost everything, in almost all sectors and industries – that’s the difference,” he told the Cyprus Mail.

The news featured heavily in local media this week, with ominous declarations on the outlook such as that by Marios Tsiakkis of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Keve), who said: “We will see increases and the consumer will pay for them because there is no other option.”

An 85-year-old pensioner, who gave her name as Nafsika, told us: “I don’t follow the news but we’re hearing that all the prices are going to increase, the wages won’t go up though – so how are we going to live?”

And that’s a key concern that Tsiakkis addressed, saying that there will be requests for salary increases but such an outcome is unlikely.

Some people, he added, will find it difficult to be able to buy all the products they are used to. Purchasing power will fall when certain products become more expensive “and people will be deprived of goods and services that they enjoyed in the past.”

That’s along the lines of what Nafsika told us, too, that: “We’ll have to make cuts from elsewhere, are we going to stop buying eggs and milk? Of course not.”

And while there are local peculiarities to the price surge Cyprus is facing – namely the fallout following the axing of the Grains Commission – President Nicos Anastasiades is amongst those stating that it’s a global issue.

“From transport, shipping and other major sectors prices have gone up so inevitably there will be increases, but as far as possible we will attempt to soak the costs to protect the Cypriot consumer – but this wave will be particularly difficult, we’re speaking of an average increase of 20 per cent,” Hadjiadamou told the Cyprus Mail.

“It will be challenging, but we call on everyone to behave professionally and responsibly, to not panic, from our side but also on other sectors to show restraint and withhold from unnecessary price increases where it is not required,” he said.

Hadjiadamou also expressed the hope that the current crisis is transient and that markets will swiftly adapt to the new conditions, which could lead to prices stabilising within four months.