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Pressure on our pockets*

Trinidad Express / A story carried in this week’s Express Business has touched off an interesting discussion on-line, and no doubt in other forms of conversation among nationals, at home and abroad, about best possible responses to the increasing cost of living. The article highlighted the upward price movement on a wide range of items, some undoubtedly more essential than others, but in most cases, consumables which have become part of the staples in everyday life in Trinidad and Tobago. Importantly, it highlighted perhaps the most fundamental indications yet that consumers have begun to make significant adjustments in their spending patterns, the better to cope with the realities of a change in the country’s economic circumstances. What the narrative reveals is that the severe shortages in the availability of foreign exchange have led manufacturers and importers to charge higher prices for their goods, because they are being made to pay more for the foreign exchange. In most cases, these costs are passed on to the consumer, who then is forced to determine whether such and such a purchase makes sense, or whether or not even their traditional pattern of grocery shopping needs to be altered.

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