Aug 2011 – Aug 2012 - Consumer Price Index Report

The Chamber recently received the August 2011 – August 2012 Consumer Price Index Report from the Statistical Institute of Belize. Here is a brief excerpt from the report: “ Within the main food sub-categories, the most notable price increases were recorded for “Meat” (1.8%) and “Milk, Cheese & Eggs” (1/8%). These hikes were partly counter balanced by a 5.1% decrease in vegetable prices.” Furthermore, the report stated “ .. within the “housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels” category, there was a 14.8 decrease in the average prices of butane…”

For the first eight months of this year, Belize’s average inflation rate was 1.7%. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 101.8 in August 2012 (February 2011 = 100), a 0.6% increase over the 101.2 recorded in August 2011. This increase was the result of higher prices of “Food and Non- Alcoholic Beverages” (↑0.5%), “Health” (↑6.8%), “Recreation and Culture” (↑5.0%), and “Miscellaneous Goods and Services” (↑4.1%). These increases were partially offset by price decreases in “Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance” (↓1.9%), “Transport” (↓0.6%), “Education” (↓2.2%) and “Restaurants and Hotels” (↓0.7%).

Within the main food sub-categories, the most notable price increases were recorded for “Meat” (↑1.8%) and “Milk, Cheese and Eggs” (↑1.8%). These hikes were partly counterbalanced by a 5.1% decrease in vegetable prices.

Within the “Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels” category, there was a 14.8% decrease in the average price of butane (in Belmopan, for example, the average price of a 100 pound cylinder of butane fell from $126.40 to $104.22) but this was overshadowed by a 0.6% increase in the price of house rentals. Increases in hospital accommodation fees and surgery costs were the main causes of the upward movement of the “Health” index. The increase in the “Recreation and Culture” index reflected a 29.8% increase in the cost of admission to nightclubs. Under “Miscellaneous Goods and Services” higher prices for health (↑10.4%) and motor vehicle insurance (↑8.3%) accounted for the increase.

The decline in the “Transport” index was mostly due to lower prices for international airfares, which were largely offset by higher motor oil prices (↑11.2%). In Belize City, for instance, the average price of a quart of the Do It Best brand of 10W- 40 motor oil rose from $9.19 to $10.11. The decline in the “Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance” index was as a result of lower prices for various non-durable household goods, including insecticides and fabric softener.

During the period under review, Orange Walk experienced the highest rate of inflation (↑2.4%), due to price increases in the “Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages”, “Health” and “Recreation and Culture” categories. The lowest inflation rate occurred in Punta Gorda (↑0.1%), while Belize City (↓0.3%) and Belmopan (↓0.6%) recorded negative inflation rates.


Table 1: CPI by Major Categories and Percent Change August 2011-August 2012


Chart 1: Monthly CPI for All Items, Food and Fuel August 2011 - August 2012


Table 2: CPI by Municipality, August 2011 and August 2012


Table 3: Monthly change in CPI for Selected Categories of Goods August 2011 - August 2012