Consumer Price Index
PRICES UP 0.4% IN AUGUST
During the month of August 2016, the Statistical Institute of Belize recorded that on average, the prices of goods and services purchased
by Belizean households were 0.4 percent higher than they were in
August of 2015. The All-Items consumer price index stood at 103.7,
a slight increase from 103.3 in the same period last year. For the
first eight months of this year, an inflation rate of 0.5 percent was
The ‘Food and Non- Alcoholic Beverages’ category saw a 0.8 percent
decrease in comparison to August 2015, primarily due to a fall in the
prices of some staple food items. The average price of eggs saw a
decline of 14 percent, while that of cooking oil dropped by 11 percent.
These overshadowed an increase of almost one third in the price per
pound of sugar, which took effect at the start of the year.
Within the ‘Transport’ category, international airfares remained
considerably lower in August 2016 than they were last year, with
prices declining by 26 percent in comparison to August 2015. Fuel
prices, on the other hand, rose by 4 percent during the month, with
the most significant jump being recorded for diesel, which rose by
16 percent. This increase in fuel prices was sufficient to offset the
lower airfares recorded for the month and, as a result, the ‘Transport’
category as a whole remained unchanged from August 2015.
Consistent with trends over the past months, home rental prices
rose by 0.8 percent during August 2016, while the average price
of a 100-pound cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) fell 3
percent from $90 in August 2015 to $88 in August 2016. Despite
a rate increase which came into effect in July, electricity tariffs for
August 2016 were still almost 11 percent lower than in the same
month of 2015. As a result, prices for the category of ‘Housing,
Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ recorded an overall increase
of 0.4 percent compared to August 2015.
Price increases were also recorded for doctors’ consultation fees,
while premiums for both health and motor vehicle insurance saw
slight decreases during the month.
All municipalities recorded increases in consumer prices during the
month of August 2016, except for Dangriga and Punta Gorda Town,
which saw consumer prices falling by 1.1 percent and 0.4 percent,
respectively. Corozal Town recorded the highest inflation rate at 1.9
percent, caused primarily by higher home rental costs.
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS UP 5%, EXPORTS UP 67%
AUGUST 2016: During the month of August 2016, Belize imported
goods valued at almost $163 million, rising by 5.3 percent or $8.2 million
from the $154.8 million imported in August of 2015.
Increased purchases of telecommunications equipment, motor boats
and aircraft engines led to a $9 million growth in imports of ‘Machinery
and Transport Equipment’, while the $7 million rise observed in goods
destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ was largely the result of an
increase in the importation of school bags, purses and various clothing
items. The ‘Other Manufactures’ category rose from $12 million in August
2015 to $18 million in August 2016, due to heightened purchases of
sporting equipment and prefabricated buildings, while a spike in lard
(shortening) imports drove the ‘Food and Live Animals’ category up by
Good destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’ dropped substantially,
from $9 million to $3 million, owing to reduced imports of manufacturing
equipment, including parts for vapour turbines and heat pressing
machines, as well as structures made of iron and steel. Reduced
fertilizer imports resulted in a $4 million fall in the ‘Chemical Products’
category. Notably, the quantities of regular, premium and kerosene fuels
imported declined by 25 percent each during the month, resulting in a
$3.6 million decrease in the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category. A $1
million decline in the category of ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ was the result
of a distinct drop in beer imports for the month.
FIRST EIGHT MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Since the start of 2016, Belize
has imported $1.3 billion worth of goods, representing a 2.4 percent or
$32 million decrease from the corresponding eight-month period in 2015.
The ‘Export Processing Zones’ and the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’
categories experienced the steepest declines over the period, with
imports of the former falling by $43 million due to less shrimp feed imports,
while that of the latter dropped by $39 million, mainly due to lower world
market prices for fuel. Imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’,
on the other hand, grew by $58 million, most of which was accounted for
by an increase in purchases of parts for telecommunications equipment.
AUGUST 2016: Belize’s domestic exports for August 2016 totaled $59.3
million, up 66.9 percent or $23.8 million from the $35.6 million exported
in August 2015.
As expected, a bulk shipment of sugar was the principal cause of this
significant rise in exports, with sugar sales for the month jumping from
$1 million in August 2015 to $34 million in August 2016. For the second
consecutive month, sugar production from western Belize contributed
a sizeable amount to exports for the month, with sales from this region
totaling $5.6 million.
Owing to diminished shrimp sales, marine exports fell from $7 million to $3 million, while citrus concentrate exports were reduced from $7.6 million to almost
$5 million, due mostly to lessened orange concentrate sales for the month. Banana and crude petroleum exports remained relatively stable, each recording
little to no change when compared to August 2015.
FIRST EIGHT MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the first eight months of 2016 totaled $321.2 million, an $83 million or a 20 percent drop
from the same period last year.
Despite sugar’s strong performance for August 2015 and an increase of more than 25 percent in the volume of sugar exported over the eight month period,
earnings from this product were down by 2.5 percent compared to 2015. This was as a result of lower prices for this commodity on the European market.
In contrast, more favorable world market prices led to a 3.5 percent increase in citrus concentrate earnings, notwithstanding a reduction in the volume of
orange concentrate exports. Earnings from marine products, bananas and crude petroleum dwindled by a combined $72 million over the eight month period.
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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)