France economy

Inflation: still sucks, but things are slowly improving

Well, it’s taken about 8,000 years, but we’re finally getting a a little break with inflation.

Listen, we’re not exactly dancing on the inflation grave here, but we’ll take what we can get.

On Wednesday we will have an official update when the Consumer Price Index report for July is released. Most economists expect inflation to have eased last month, to 8.7% from 9.1% in June. Again, not great – it’s still historically high, but we’re headed in the right direction.


The cooling of inflation is good news, even if some of the factors behind it are not so important. Ultimately, people are cutting spending because they’re struggling to make ends meet after a year of relentless price increases that have far outpaced wage growth. Recession fears are real, and while inflation has peaked, it is unlikely to come back down to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon.


Energy bills in the UK are expected to top $5,000 a year from January, or around $430 a month on average, according to new estimates from research firm Cornwall Insight. This means that almost a third of households will face what is known as energy poverty, which means that their income after paying for energy will fall below the poverty line.


We take food news very seriously here at Nightcap HQ, so when we heard France was running out of mustard, we had to dig in.

Here’s the deal: the French to like mustard. They are the biggest condiment consumers in the world, consuming about 2.2 pounds per person each year, according to the New York Times. Is it as essential as butter? No. But it’s right up there. And right now, due to climate change and war, many grocery shelves are empty, leaving food-obsessed people scrambling to find an alternative.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like it,” says Marc Désarménien, owner of Maison Fallot, a family business that has been producing mustard for generations in the town of — I am not joking —Dijon. (Did you know Dijon was the place and not just the mustard style? Fascinating. Is it like champagne by the way is just sparkling white wine? Anyway, I digress from subject…)

“My grandfather lived through the two world wars and the post-war period when there were ration tickets in France, but even then there was mustard!” tells Désarménien to my colleague Camille Knight. “Now, whether you go to Lille, Marseille, Bordeaux or Strasbourg, no one has any mustard left. Everything is sold out in a few hours.”

What’s going on?

A couple of things, both of which are full-scale disasters that hurt way more than the condiments.

1. Climate change. Your Dijon may truly be from Dijon, but the seeds themselves are grown in an area of ​​Canada that has been hit by extreme heat linked to global warming. This halves the usual yield.

So naturally, mustard makers would look to other places that grow mustard seeds, right? Yes. But there is a problem…

2. Other major mustard seed exporters are *sleazy on the notes* Ukraine and Russia. Who are, you know, a little preoccupied.


It’s really hard to replace the taste of mustard. People try all kinds of concoctions with tahini, wasabi, and horseradish. It’s quite sinister.

But there is a glimmer of hope: the Canadian Department of Agriculture predicts better yields for the upcoming harvest, which should help bring production back to normal.

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