Home Adidas jersey South American fans are biting their nails over World Cup chances – and inflation

South American fans are biting their nails over World Cup chances – and inflation

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In South America, home to some of the world’s most famous soccer players, from Argentina’s Lionel Messi to Brazil’s Neymar, passionate fans are beginning to worry about their country’s World Cup chances – and the rising cost of their support.

The region of around 650 million people is struggling with some of the worst inflation in the world, including in Argentina where prices are expected to soar 100% this year. This drives up the costs from stickers and football shirts to snacks and beer during games.

“The prices are just too inflated,” said 20-year-old Brazilian Breno Nery, who was buying popular collectible football stickers at a mall in Sao Paulo. A pack of five stickers has doubled to 4 reais ($0.79) since the Russia 2018 World Cup.

It’s even worse in Argentina, where the suggested price of a pack jumped 900% to 150 pesos ($0.95) after years of skyrocketing inflation. But a shortage has also caused prices to double or triple on the internet or in alternative markets.

Prices have risen for all kinds of merchandise, from merchandise and collectibles to food and drink that fans are likely to buy once the competition begins this month in Qatar. Brazil and Argentina are among the favourites.

In Buenos Aires, if fans want to buy a soccer jersey, they will also have to reckon with even higher prices thanks to a skewed exchange rate linked to strict capital controls and supply chain disruptions.

In Argentina, the new Adidas national team jersey ADSGn.DE will cost 28,999 pesos, a whopping 1,658% increase from the last World Cup, while in Brazil, Nike Inc NKE.N has launched the last “Selecao” jersey at 349.99 reais, or 40% jump.

“This time, Brazilian fans will be biting their nails not only when cheering for the national team, but also when paying their bills,” XP broker XP.O said in a recent report.

Despite the price hike, sales of the Brazil kit jumped 40% from 2018 in volume, Nike distributor Grupo SBF SBFG3.SA said. But not everyone is convinced.

“I think I’m just going to wear a random shirt with ‘Brazil’ written on it,” said Daniel Santos, 20, speaking at a mall in Sao Paulo.

shock sticker

The World Cup will be played from November 20 to December 18 – in late spring in the southern hemisphere, a change from the normal dates which fall during the region’s winter.

FILE – Country flags are seen along a street in Lusail, Qatar October 22, 2022.

Milder weather has companies such as BRF meatpacker BRFS3.SA and Ambev brewer ABEV3.SA expecting sales to rise as South Americans gather with family and friends to watch matches with a cold brew or celebrate with a barbecue.

But fans will be shocked by the stickers.

Meat is now almost 80% more expensive in Brazil than four years ago, according to XP, a rise almost three times higher than headline inflation. The prices of sodas and beer jumped 20%.

Prices for traditional Argentinian beef asado have increased by more than 600% from June 2018 to August 2022, according to data from local industry group IPCVA. A liter of beer has almost quintupled its price.

The World Cup even led Argentina to launch capital controls on foreign travel and spending dubbed the ‘Qatar’ exchange rate, making travel to the Middle Eastern nation even more expensive in local currency.