Hardware shop in Palma. | Jaume Morey

Government announcements in China, Austria, Germany and Sweden urging people to store food in case of an electricity blackout in Europe, have caused widespread alarm in Spain and the Balearic Islands.

Camping gas stoves, butane bottles, battery operated lighting and torches are flying off the shelves in Palma.

“We placed an order but the suppliers told us that there is no stock left,” said García e Hijos hardware store. “This reminds me of the toilet paper rush at the beginning of the pandemic.”

"We are amazed because buyers have been talking about a blackout in January," said a Tramuntana hardware store spokesperson.

“Sales have skyrocketed, but we still have stock,” said a Mayol hardware store representative. “People are scared.”

Hypermarket Managerss in the Balearic Islands say they haven’t witnessed customers stockpiling food, but staff at a shop in central Palma say some people bought more food and alcohol just in case there’s shortages at Christmas.

Staff at one supermarket said there’s a shortage of some brands of milk, chocolate and cat litter.

“We have warehouses in Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza and we try to buy our products in the Islands,” said a Hipercentro Manager.

Google has reported a massive upswing in searches using the phrase ‘how to cook without electricity’.