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Weekly Round-Up ... 24 October 2023

By Donna Ahern
Weekly Round-Up ... 24 October 2023

Polish retail sales fell less than expected in September, signalling growing consumer resilience as central Europe's biggest economy works towards recovery with inflation receding, reports Reuters. With price growth moderating across central Europe, some central banks in the region - including the Polish central bank - have already started reversing tight monetary policy of recent years. Backed by strong wage growth and generous government spending before an election earlier this month, Polish retail sales in September eased 0.3% year-on-year, after falling 2.7% in August. Analysts were expecting a reading of -2.0%, and they said the data should bode well for the economy next year. "The decline in inflation and the recovery of real wages are doing their job... Consumption will be the main driver of growth in 2024," ING Bank Slaski economists said in a note. Earlier this month, Czech September retail sales data showed a downside surprise with a deeper slump than August, while Hungary's calendar-adjusted retail sales fell by an annual 7.1% in August.

Coop Italia has launched a new budget private-label range under the Spesotti brand, which the retailer says offers significant savings on everyday items, reports The range includes around 300 SKUs across 75 categories, which feature an exclamation point as a recurring iconic element. It includes products such as  pasta, tomato puree, beer, chips, pistachios, legumes, canned tuna, mackerel, salmon, anchovies, frozen vegetables, fish, breakfast items and ice cream. In addition to food, the Spesotti line also includes a broad range of home and personal care products, Coop Italia noted. According to the retailer, prices are guaranteed to be lower than comparable branded products, and all products meet Coop's high quality standards – for example, all Spesotti products are free of artificial flavours and colourants, and all eggs used are free-range in origin.

Australia has said that a group of Middle Eastern countries had extended the maximum shelf life they will accept on imported chilled red meat, making it easier and cheaper for Australia to ship beef and lamb to the region, reports Reuters. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – a group comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – has raised the shelf life limit on vacuum-packed chilled meat and meat products to 120 days for beef and 90 days for lamb and goat meat from 70 days previously. Some of the countries had previously raised their shelf life limits. The move by the GCC brings all six countries into line. The change was enabled by improvements in packaging and refrigeration along the supply chain, according to Australia's agricultural ministry. "Not only does this improved market access mean that export by sea is now possible – saving approximately A$3/kilogram ($1.90) of product – but our product can also keep their premium price longer, which means higher profit," agriculture minister Murray Watt said in a statement.


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