(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - Italian families returning from their summer vacations are facing a huge blow, with prices rising sharply in almost every sector, especially food, consumer association Codacons said Monday. "According to our estimates, the reopening of the shops and businesses (after the August break) is accompanied by a general increase in prices, by an average of 5% on consumer products, with peaks up to 10% for those goods closely linked to the prices of fuels," said Codacons president Carlo Rienzi. These increases amount to an average annual hike of 550 euro per family on food spending alone, he said. Higher fuel prices and rising taxes are driving increases in consumer costs throughout the supply chain, he noted. The result will be lower consumer spending as families are forced to cut back, even on traditional Christmas spending, said Rienzi. Consumer organizations are planning to protest against higher prices on Sept. 19 with a one-day 'shopping strike', when they will also call on governments to intervene by lowering VAT and fuel taxes.
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di Sebastiano Caspanello