By JUSTIN SPIKE, PAUL WISEMAN and VANESSA GERA
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — From appliance stores in the United States to food markets in Hungary and gas stations in Poland, rising consumer prices are putting a pinch on households and businesses worldwide. As economies recover from pandemic lockdowns, increased consumer demand, high energy costs and supply chain disruptions have fueled rising inflation. Countries like Poland and Hungary are among those feeling the price spikes most acutely. Their weakening currencies and import-focused economies make them particularly vulnerable to price hikes, and their inflation rates are among the highest in Europe. The new coronavirus variant, omicron, has raised fears of more closures that could further strain global commerce and send prices even higher.