IMPORTS

OCTOBER: Belize’s total imports for the month of October 2015 were valued at $184.2 million. This was an increase of 3.5 percent or $6.2 million over last October’s imports, which were valued at almost $178 million. Two thirds of all the goods imported during the month consisted of machinery, equipment, manufactured items, and goods for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and ‘Export Processing Zones’.

Goods destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’ grew by $5 million from $9 million to $13 million, due to large purchases of steam turbines. Imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, and ‘Food and Live Animals’ both rose by $4 million, with purchases of personal vehicles, portable radio telephones and various food items all rising in comparison to October 2014. Increased steel purchases resulted in a $2 million increase in ‘Manufactured Goods’ during the month.

Imports into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and the category of ‘Mineral and Fuels and Lubricants’ experienced the largest declines for the month, at $9 million and $5 million, respectively. While the latter resulted from fewer cigarette and clothing purchases, the former was caused by lower world market prices across all types of fuels.

EXPORTS

OCTOBER: Total domestic exports for October 2015 amounted to $37.9 million, down 15.8 percent or $7.1 million when compared to last October’s exports of $45 million. Crude petroleum, marine and banana sales, which together accounted for almost three quarters of export revenues in October 2014, all declined for the month, contributing only a half of total exports in October 2015. Crude petroleum dropped by more than a half, from $11 million to $5 million. Diminished marine exports, owing to reduced farm shrimp sales, fell from $11 million to $7 million. Additionally, banana exports experienced a $2 million drop for the month, as sales abroad declined from $10 million to $8 million, owing to the exclusion of one banana farm.



CONSUMER PRICES DOWN BY 0.8% IN OCTOBER

During the month of October 2015, prices of goods and services purchased by Belizean households were, on average, 0.8 percent lower than in October 2014. According to the latest statistics on consumer prices released by the Statistical Institute of Belize, the All-Items Consumer Price Index stood at 102.9, down from 103.8 in the same month last year. For the first ten months of this year, an inflation rate of negative 0.9 percent was recorded.

The “Transport” category declined by 7 percent and remains the single greatest contributor to the overall decrease in consumer prices, driven primarily by falling fuel costs. All three types of fuel recorded a substantial drop in prices when compared to October 2014. Premium and regular gasoline were down by about 23 percent and 28 percent, respectively, while diesel recorded the greatest decline of 29 percent.

The category of “Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages” was almost unchanged, decreasing by a marginal 0.2 percent when compared to the same period of 2014. At the individual product level, significant increases continued to be observed in the prices of beef, pork and eggs. However, these were offset by lower prices for red kidney beans, cooking oil, shortening and fresh vegetables.

Although home rental prices recorded an increase of 0.8 percent compared to October 2014, the “Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels” category showed no overall change. This was due to the fact that higher home rental prices were offset by the continued decline in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), which dropped by $31 or 27 percent from $115 in October 2014 to $84 in October 2015.

Across all other categories of goods and services prices rose, on average, by just under 1 percent. Items such as doctors’ consultation fees and motor vehicle insurance premiums were up in comparison to October 2014, and dampened the effect of sharply lower fuel prices on the overall inflation rate.

Dangriga and Punta Gorda were the only municipalities that recorded increases in consumer prices with inflation rates of 1.8 and 1 percent, respectively. Home rental prices were up by 2.7 percent in both towns, more than in any of the other municipalities. In contrast, Belmopan recorded the lowest inflation rate of negative 2 percent, reflecting the smallest increase in rent, while Corozal Town saw virtually no change in prices, on average.


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)