Consumer Price Index

CONSUMER PRICES UP BY 0.9% IN JUNE 2016

During the month of June 2016, prices of goods and services purchased by Belizean households were an average of 0.9 percent higher than they were in June 2015. According to the latest statistics on consumer prices released by the Statistical Institute of Belize, the All-Items Consumer Price Index stood at 103.7, up from 102.8 in last June. For the first half of this year, a year-to-date inflation rate of 0.5 percent was recorded.

Despite higher prices for both regular gasoline and diesel fuel during the month, the ‘Transport’ category saw an overall decline of 0.7 percent. The effect of these price increases was overshadowed by premium gasoline prices and international airfares, which remained lower than they were one year ago.

‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ recorded an overall increase of 1.6 percent, as home rental prices rose by more than 2 percent in comparison to June 2015. This was offset by lower electricity tariffs, which were down by 16 percent compared to last June, as well as a steep drop in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) prices, from $110 twelve months ago to $84 in June 2016.

Prices for ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’, on average, were virtually unchanged when compared to the same period of last year. While higher prices were seen for fruits, beef, pork and sugar, decreases were recorded in the prices of eggs, chicken and fresh vegetables.

Across ‘All Other Categories of Goods and Services’, prices rose by an average of 1.5 percent, as a result of higher health insurance premiums, hairdressing prices, doctor’s consultation fees, and women’s clothing prices, when compared to June of last year.

All municipalities recorded increases in consumer prices with the exception of Dangriga, which saw a marginal deflation of 0.1 percent as a result of lower food prices for the month of June. Corozal Town, Punta Gorda and Orange Walk Town recorded the highest inflation rates, with these municipalities having above average increases in fuel, food and home rental prices.

Click here for the whole report!


External Trade Bulletin

IMPORTS DOWN 11%, EXPORTS DOWN 30%

IMPORTS

JUNE: During the month of June 2016, Belize’s imported goods were valued at almost $168 million, down by 11.2 percent or $21.2 million from the $189.2 million imported in June of 2015.

‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, which accounts for more than one fifth of all the country’s imports, was a major factor in the decline for June 2016. This category, which spiked to $47 million in June of last year due to a major purchase of equipment, saw an $11.5 million drop to $35 million in June 2016. Other major reductions were recorded in goods destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’ and ‘Commercial Free Zones’, which declined by combined $11 million due to diminished purchases of electrical equipment, shrimp feed, clothing and handbags. ‘The Food and Live Animals’ category decreased by $4.5 million, as there were no wheat seed imports in June 2016, while fewer purchases of iron and steel construction supplies led to a $4 million drop in ‘Manufactured Goods’.

‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, on the other hand, saw its first monthly increase for this year, rising by $6 million from $13.6 million in June of last year to $20 million for June 2016. This was primarily due to the fact that diesel imports doubled when compared to last June. A shipment of premium gasoline was also received in June 2016, while none was imported during June of 2015. Increased fertilizer purchases drove the ‘Chemical Products’ category up by $3 million, while imports of laboratory plastics and school bags resulted in a $2 million spike in the ‘Other Manufactures’ category.

FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports for the first half of the year totaled $974.9 million, representing a 2.4 percent or a $23.5 million decrease from the same six month period last year when goods totaling $998.4 million were imported.

The categories of ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, ‘Export Processing Zones’ and ‘Commercial Free Zones’ have seen the steepest declines in import spending since the start of 2016, each falling by more than $20 million during the period. On the other hand, ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, Belize’s largest category of imports, grew by almost $45 million from $215 million during the first half of last year to $260 million during the same period in 2016.

EXPORTS

JUNE: The total value of Belize’s domestic exports for the month of June 2016 was $36.8 million, down 30.2 percent or $15.9 million from the $52.7 million recorded in June 2015.

Sugar earnings fell considerably by $24 million, from $25 million in June 2015 to $1 million in June of this year. This was the main reason for the overall decline in exports recorded during the month and was due to changes in the scheduling of bulk shipments of sugar during this year compared to last year. Sales of marine products fell by more than one half from $6.5 million to under $3 million, while banana exports declined by one third from $9 million to $6 million.

Despite the overall contraction in export earnings for June 2016, citrus sales got a welcome a boost during the month. Revenues for this industry more than tripled, from under $3 million in June 2015 to $12 million in the same month of this year, due to a surge in orange concentrate sales. Crude petroleum, which recorded no exports during June of last year, generated revenues of over $5 million in June of this year.

FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the period January to June 2016 totaled $231.8 million, down $73 million or almost one fourth from the same period last year.

For the first half of the year, citrus was the only major export to have seen any increase when compared to the same period in 2015. Boosted by the industry’s strong performance in June, citrus exports rose by $4 million, from $59 million during the first half of 2015 to $63 million during the same six months of 2016.

All other major exports recorded declines in earnings for the period. Marine export receipts plunged by almost three fourths, from $51 million in 2015 to $15 million in 2016. Bananas and crude petroleum each saw export earnings fall by about one third during the period, with banana sales dropping by $17 million from $53 million to $35 million, and crude petroleum falling from $18 million to $12 million. Sugar earnings decreased by almost 15 percent from $72 million in the first six months of 2015 to $61 million in 2016.

Click here for the whole report!

You may download the entire series for both External Trade and CPI in Excel format from the Statistical Institute of Belize website: (http://www.sib.org.bz/statistics)