Consumer Price Index
PRICES UP 0.7% IN SEPTEMBER
The latest figures on consumer prices released by the Statistical
Institute of Belize showed that, on average, the prices of goods and
services purchased by Belizean households were 0.7 percent higher
in September 2016 than they were in September 2015. The All-
Items consumer price index stood at 103.7, an increase from 103.0
recorded for last September. The first nine months of 2016 saw an
overall inflation rate of 0.5 percent.
Since the start of the year, prices for the sub-category of ‘Fuel’
have been trending gradually upward. For most of this year, lower
international airfares have tended to offset this gradual rise in fuel
prices, resulting in an overall decrease in the ‘Transport’ index. For
the month of September 2016, however, ‘Transport’ recorded an
overall increase of 1.3 percent, as rising prices for fuel overshadowed
the effects of a 26 percent drop in international airfares for the first
time this year. The average price for Regular gasoline rose by more
than 8 percent from $8.63 in September 2015 to $9.35 in September
2016, while that of Diesel jumped by 17 percent from $6.98 to $8.18.
On average, the prices for the category of ‘Food and ‘Non-alcoholic
beverages’ were largely unchanged during the month of September,
although there were some change recorded in the prices of some
items at the individual product level. The average price per pound
of sugar was up 31 percent, due to a price increase that took effect
at the start of the year, while smaller increases were noted in the
prices of rice and various fruits. These were offset by eggs, pork,
and seafood, which all experienced lower prices during the month.
The ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category
recorded a slight overall increase of 0.3 percent for the month of
September of 2016. While home rental prices were 0.6 percent
higher than they were during the same month of last year, electricity
tariffs as well as the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) were
both lower than they were in September of last year.
Although most municipalities recorded increases in consumer prices
during the month of September 2016, Dangriga saw a 0.9 percent
decline in prices while consumer prices were down 0.7 percent
in Punta Gorda Town during the month. Dangriga was the only
municipality to experience a decrease in ‘Transport’ prices, and both
towns saw food prices fall by more than the national average. On
the other hand, Corozal Town and Orange Walk Town, which had
the highest increases in home rental prices, reported the highest
inflation rates for the month.
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS DOWN 1.1%, EXPORTS DOWN 40.6%
September 2016: In September 2016, Belize imported goods valuing
$160.3 million, representing a marginal 1.1 percent or $1.9 million
decrease from imports during the same month in 2015.
The ‘Export Processing Zones’ saw the sharpest decline in imports
during the month, falling from $11 million in September 2015 to $3.5
million in September 2016. Reduced purchases were observed across
various items within that category, with gaming machines, electrical
panels and paper machinery among the items recording the most
notable declines. A signifi cant decrease in the importation of mechanical
harvesters led to an almost $4 million drop in the ‘Machinery and
Transport Equipment’ category, while lowered purchases of plastic
tubes, vaccines and fertilizers resulted in a $1 million decline in imports
of ‘Chemical Products’.
Imports of goods to the ‘Commercial Free Zones’, on the other hand, grew
by one third or $7 million during the month, as purchases of cigarettes,
school bags, clothing and footwear all rose in comparison to September
2015. Although the quantity of diesel imported was only a half of what
was imported during the same month of last year, the ‘Mineral Fuels
Lubricants’ category rose by $1.6 million. This was largely due to the
fact that there were no purchases of premium gasoline in September
2015, while there were shipments received in September of this year.
Increased purchases of pre-fabricated steel buildings drove imports
of ‘Other Manufactures’ up by $1.5 million, while a sizeable growth
in cigarette imports resulted in a $1.4 million spike in the category of
‘Beverages and Tobacco’.
FIRST NINE MONthS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports for the
period January to September 2016 totaled $1.5 billion, representing a
2.3 percent or $33.9 million decrease from the same nine-month period
Goods destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’ recorded the greatest
decline over the period, with an almost $50 million drop in imports, from
$87 million in the fi rst nine months of 2015 to $37 million in 2016. A
considerable portion of this decline was the direct result of diminished
shrimp feed imports. ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, which
accounted for over $380 million of total imports for the period, saw
the most signifi cant increase, growing by 17 percent or $54.5 million
compared to the same nine months of last year.
SEPTEMBER 2016: Belize’s total domestic exports for the month of
September 2016 amounted to $21.4 million, down 40.6 percent or $14.7
million when compared to the almost $36 million in exports recorded for
the month of September 2015.
The sharp fall in earnings was chiefl y the result of declines in exports across most of the major commodities, with the exception of citrus concentrate,
which saw a slight increase during the month. Sugar exports plunged from $8.4 million in September 2015 to less than half a million dollars in September
2016, due primarily to changes in the scheduling of sugar shipments. Banana sales decreased during the month, from $10 million in 2015 to $6 million
in September of this year. Marine exports declined by $2 million, from $6 million to $4 million, as shrimp sales remained below what was recorded for the
same month last year.
FIRST NINE MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the period January to September 2016 totaled $342.6 million, down 22.2 percent or $97.7
million from the same nine months of last year.
For the year to date, citrus was the only major export to have emerged with some increase in earnings, rising by $3 million from $74 million in 2015 to $77
million in 2016 due to favorable world market prices. Marine exports, on the other hand, suffered the sharpest drop of $46 million, from $72 million during
the fi rst nine months in 2015 to $26 million in 2016, owing to decreased shrimp sales. Banana exports fell by $21 million, or more than one fourth, over the
period, from $78 million to $56 million. Sugar and crude petroleum each recorded decreases of about $11 million during the fi rst nine months of the year.
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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)