Consumer Price Index
CONSUMER PRICES UP 1.3% IN NOVEMBER 2016
According to latest figures released by the Statistical Institute of Belize,
on average, consumer prices were 1.3 percent higher in November 2016
than they were in November 2015. The All-Items consumer price index
stood at 104.2, an increase from 102.9 in last November. For the first
eleven months of 2016, a year-to-date inflation rate of 0.6 percent was
The ‘Transport’ index remains a major contributor to the overall rise
in consumer prices, recording a 9.4 percent increase in comparison
to November of 2015. ‘Fuel’ prices rose across the board, as Regular
gasoline saw an increase of 22.1 percent, Premium gasoline rose by
18.4 percent, and Diesel prices increased by 25 percent in comparison
to the same month of last year. The impact of the rise in bus fares, which
came into effect during late October of this year, was also evident in
this category, as ‘Passenger transport by road’ recorded a 5.6 percent
increase in November 2016. Prices for new motor vehicles were also up,
rising by an average of 4.3 percent. In contrast to the trend observed over
the past year, international airfares were up when compared to November
2015, recording a substantial 45.7 percent increase in November 2016.
Within the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category, ‘Food’ prices
were down very slightly by 0.3 percent in comparison to November 2015,
with prices for meats and eggs both declining during the month. The
average price of ground beef, for example, decreased by 13.3 percent,
while that of a dozen eggs was down by 12.8 percent. The average price
per pound of sugar, which rose at the start of 2016, was more than 45
percent higher than it was in November 2015, the effect of which served
to offset the falling prices that were seen among other categories of food.
The ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category
recorded a slight increase of 0.4 percent for November 2016. This was
mainly due to a 5.9 percent increase in electricity tariffs earlier in the
year coupled with a 1.5 percent increase in the price of a 100 pound
cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Home rental prices saw a
slight decrease of 0.2 percent, the first recorded decrease since the start
of the year.
Across ‘All Other Categories of Goods and Services’, prices rose by 0.6
percent on average. Increases were experienced in prices for ‘Women’s
Footwear’ as well as ‘Health’ services, as an increase in doctor’s
consultation fees was observed.
Orange Walk Town, with an inflation rate of 3.2 percent, recorded the
highest increase in consumer prices during the month, as it had one
of the largest increases in the transport index. Punta Gorda Town, on
the other hand, recorded the lowest, with consumer prices actually
decreasing by 0.4 percent.
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS DOWN 9%, EXPORTS DOWN 50%
NOVEMBER 2016: During the month of November 2016, Belize’s imported
goods were valued at $172.2 million, down 9.4 percent or $17.9 million from
the $190.2 million imported in November of 2015.
Belize’s largest import type, ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, saw its
greatest drop since the start of 2016, falling sharply from $60 million to $43
million, as purchases of auto parts fell by a substantial $18 million for the
month. Items meant for Belize’s ‘Export Processing Zones’ and ‘Commercial
Free Zones’ decreased by smaller amounts of $6.6 million and $1.6 million,
respectively. While the decline recorded in the former category was largely
the result of lowered imports of electrical transformers and metal furniture,
the reduction in the latter was mostly brought upon by reduced purchases of
tennis shoes and clothing. Importation of ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ fell
by a minimal $1 million for the month, as increases in the quantities of regular
and premium fuels were counterbalanced by a drop of about three fourths in
Marked increases were observed in only two categories, that of ‘Other
Manufactures’ and ‘Beverages and Tobacco’. While heightened importation
of gold jewelry, prefabricated steel buildings and plastic bottles led to a $3.4
million growth in the ‘Other Manufactures’ category, a spike in cigarette
purchases led to a $2 million rise in the category of ‘Beverages and Tobacco’.
FIRST ELEVEN MONthS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports for the
period January to November 2016 totaled $1.8 billion, representing a 4.4
percent or an $83.5 million decrease from the same eleven month period
The global impact of lower fuel prices on the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’
category and the fact that Belize imported approximately 60 percent less
into its ‘Export Processing Zones’, together accounted for an almost $108
million reduction in imports during the period. Additionally, the combined
effect of lowered importation of ‘Chemical Products’, ‘Manufactured Goods’
and goods destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ resulted in a combined
$42 million drop in imports. Although purchases of ‘Machinery and Transport
Equipment’ and ‘Other Manufactures’ grew by a combined $57 million, these
increases were offset by the period’s more dominant decreases.
NOVEMBER 2016: The total value of Belize’s domestic exports for the
month of November 2016 was $19.1 million, representing a 50 percent drop
from the $38.2 million recorded in November 2015.
The month’s decline was largely as a result of the exhaustion of bulk
shipments of sugar for the year 2016, resulting in only smaller shipments of
bagged sugar being exported for the month of November. Sugar earnings
for the month fell considerably, from $13.4 million in November 2015 when a
bulk shipment was exported, to just over $145 thousand in November 2016.
It should be noted that month over month comparisons of earnings from this
major export have been greatly impacted by the differing schedules for bulk
shipments in the comparable years of 2015 and 2016.
Falling crude petroleum earnings also contributed to the significant drop
in export revenues, with receipts diminishing from $4 million in November
2015 to zero in November 2016, as no crude was exported during the month.
Export gains for bananas decreased from $6.4 million to $4.4 million during the month, while that of citrus fell slightly from $3.9 million to $3.1 million.
On the other hand, earnings from marine products grew marginally, from $5.5 million in November of last year to $5.6 million in November 2016. This was the first
positive showing for that category, and for shrimp exports, since the beginning of the year.
FIRST ELEVEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the period January to November 2016 totaled almost $384 million, down by $132.5 million or
one fourth from the same eleven month period last year.
The category of marine products experienced the most substantial export losses, falling by $48.2 million from $84.5 million in 2015 to $36.3 million in 2016, owing
mostly to low shrimp sales. The volume of sugar exported for the period was virtually unchanged from the same eleven months during 2015. Nonetheless, sugar
earnings for said period of 2016 dropped by 23.5 percent or $31.5 million when compared to 2015, as that commodity has suffered the effects of lower prices on the
Belize’s other major exports, banana and crude petroleum, each saw receipts dwindle during the period, with bananas earnings falling by $27.3 million from
$92.1 million in 2015 to $64.8 million in 2016, and that of crude petroleum dropping by $13.9 million from $36.4 million to $22.5 million. Citrus exports, on the
other hand, grew by $1.4 million to $84.6 million, as world market prices for orange concentrate were favorable over the 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)