- The CEO of consumer goods giant Unilever said that prices would likely continue to rise in the near term.
- He added that his firm had a playbook for high inflation thanks to its business dealings in markets like Argentina and Turkey.
- “For the last 18 months we’ve seen extraordinary input cost pressure,” he said.
“We do see the prospect of higher volume elasticity as winter energy costs hit, as households’ savings levels come down and that buffer goes away and as prices continue to rise,” he added.
Jope was asked if he foresaw any moderation when it came to inflationary pressures. “It’s very hard to predict the future of commodity markets,” he replied. “Even if you press the oil major CEOs, they’ll be a little cagey on giving an outlook on energy prices.” Unilever’s view, he said, was that “we know for sure there’s more inflationary pressure coming through in our input costs.” Unilever has a global footprint and owns brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Wall’s.
Jope touched upon the international dimension of his business and how the experience of operating in a range of markets was steering it through the current climate. “Nobody running a business at the moment has really lived through global inflation, it’s a long time since we’ve had global inflation,” he said.
“But we’re used to high levels of inflation from doing business in places like Argentina, or Turkey, or parts of Southeast Asia,” he added. And so it’s not that we’ve taken more price, we just started acting earlier than many of our peers, and the guidance that we’ve been getting from our investors is they support that and feel that that’s an appropriate action.
This, Jope explained, was “something we have learned from being in these high inflationary markets, though … much of that inflation is currency weakness, historically.”
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