Black Friday’s comeback highlights economic divide as inflation slams shoppers
Black Friday (Nov. 23) saw two of the busiest shopping periods in two years, as record stores opened and online sales soared at last.
While it was the busiest day of the year for consumers and bargain hunters, the consumer price index for retail food rose the steepest since December 1989 amid increasing price war pressure and an unexpected increase in import duties on steel and aluminium.
The core consumer index rose 1.6% from 15,000 in October to 16,000, its highest since February 2008.
The wholesale cost index rose 2.2% to a four-year high of 26,000 while the food inflation figure was up 1.5% on the month to a 12-month high of 21,000.
The report followed a 2.5% rise in CPI inflation for other goods, in line with the expectations of economists.
A separate data showed the first increase in inflation since December 2007, as the index for housing materials eased to 1.3% from 1.4%.
The price of petrol and other fuels slumped by around a third in the three days before the Black Friday deals began, the largest drop in four years.
The price of petrol was at an average of Rp2,056 per litre and was down by Rp5,823 to close at Rp2,060 per litre.
The price of diesel was close to the five-year low of Rp1,097 per litre in the three days before Black Friday commenced.
The government announced yesterday a series of measures which it claims will ease the price spike which followed Black Friday.
But consumers have been hit hard with food prices rising the steepest since March 2006 and inflation running at 9.5% year-on-year for May.
The rising cost of petrol has been blamed for the sharp decline in the retail sector’s pre-Black Friday sales estimates, which fell around 15% for most of last year and plunged more than 8% in the three days ahead of Black Friday.
“There’s clearly been a price surge at Black Friday. There is inflationary pressure. As of now, petrol and goods have increased. There are concerns whether there is more to come,” said a senior economist in a private company.
“People are saying it is normal that Black Friday is up