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Orbán Vows Crackdown on 'Profiteering' Supermarket Chains

Retail

Viktor Orbán

Image by Alessia Pierdomenico / Shutterstock.com

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said officials would escalate a crackdown on unjustified food price hikes at multinational supermarket chains in a weekly interview on public radio on Friday.

 "While the whole country is fighting inflation, especially against food price rises, there are, unfortunately, some who are not playing their part in this fight, in fact, they're taking advantage of the situation, which I find outrageous," Orbán said on Kossuth Rádió.

"Multinationals are behaving as price speculators...raising prices when there is no justification, import food prices, too...which is unjustified and unacceptable," he argued.

He acknowledged measures competition and consumer protection authorities have taken to counter such activity, but claimed that the crackdown needed to be stepped up.

He also called out multinational supermarket chains for "collaborating with bureaucrats in Brussels" to get away with "profiteering".

Orbán pointed to a number of measures the government had taken to bring inflation down, including food price caps, an online price-monitoring platform, mandatory food price discounts at big retailers, and the extension of Szép voucher card balances to purchases of food in supermarkets.

"We're playing all of the instruments," he said.

Data from June and July show government measures to "thrash" inflation are working, and the government target to bring CPI under 10% by year-end can be achieved, he added.

According to data by the Central Statistical Office (KSH), inflation in Hungary stood at 20.1% in June.

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