One of the most consumed foods on the Brazilian table, rice continues to be one of the most valued items in the last year. According to data from Abras (Brazilian Association of Supermarkets), in July 2021 it accumulated an increase of 39.8% in the last 12 months, four times higher than the inflation in the period, of 8.99%, and almost eight times the readjustment of the minimum wage in the country.
Minimum wage devalues ’a tank of gas’ since 2019
In 2020, the country’s salary floor, defined by the federal government, was R$1,045. In 2021, R$ 1,100, with a 5.2% increase.
In the last 12 months, therefore, rice rose 7.65 times more than the minimum wage, directly affecting people with less income and who consume the most.
The manager of IBGE’s POF (Family Budget Survey), André Martins, explains that grain is part of the diet of practically all Brazilians, but in the low-income class the quantity is greater. “In turn, industrialized and expensive products are among the most found in families with higher per capita income, who are able to choose what they want to consume,” he says.
Despite having registered drop in price between June and July, rice has been highlighted among the most valued since 2020.
Taking into account the data released by Procon-SP, which registers monthly average prices of basic food basket products in the state, in July 2020 it was possible to buy 329 kilos of rice with a minimum wage. In the same month, a year later, 267. A difference of 62 kilos, or 19% less.
Because of the pandemic of Covid-19, explain the economists, the Brazilian stayed at home longer and preferred staple foods.
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With rural activity on the rise, grain production increased, but not enough. National food, with the real devalued, was also exported. Greater demand added to less product on the shelves increases prices.
Economist at Ibre (Brazilian Institute of Economics), FGV (Fundação Getulio Vargas), André Braz points out that, for the low-income family, rice and all other components of the basic food basket weigh more on the inflation of the lower classes. “It doesn’t matter if gasoline became expensive or cheap, if the price of airfare fell, if schools are going to give a discount because they are items that are not on their consumption list.”