The latest figures released by the Statistical Institute of Belize show that,
on average, consumer prices were 1.1 percent higher in December 2016
than they were in December 2015. The All- Items consumer price index
stood at 104.0, an increase from 102.9 in December of 2015. For the
year 2016 an inflation rate of 0.7 percent was recorded.
In December 2016 the ‘Transport’ index rose by 9.9 percent when
compared to December 2015. This index remained the main contributor
to the rising inflation rate. Fuel prices rose by 15.5 percent, with Diesel
prices recording the highest increase of 35.9 percent in comparison to
December 2015. The rise in bus fares in October 2016 continues to
impact the overall ‘Transport’ index along with increasing international
In the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category, which saw an overall
1.6 percent decrease, ‘Food’ prices alone were down by 1.5 percent in
comparison to December 2015. On average, vegetable prices recorded a
6.5 percent decrease as carrot, onion and sweet pepper prices fell during
the month. The ‘Milk, Cheese and Eggs’ category also experienced an
overall 4.5 percent decrease in prices. The price per dozen eggs stood
at $3.21, down 14.2 percent from $3.74 in December of 2015. However,
sugar prices, which recorded a 29.4 percent increase on average, once
again offset some of the effect of falling prices among other food items.
There was virtually no change in the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas
and Other Fuels’ category. The price of a 100 pound cylinder of Liquefied
Petroleum Gas (LPG) increased slightly by 1.2 percent from $83.88 in
December 2015 to $84.91 in December 2016. Electricity tariffs also
increased compared to December 2015 while decreases were recorded
in home rental prices.
Across ‘All Other Categories of Goods and Services’ prices rose by
0.6 percent in comparison to December 2015. In keeping with trends
observed in November, ‘Health’ services recorded an overall 1.5 percent
increase, mainly due to an rise in doctor’s consultation fees.
Orange Walk Town and Belmopan recorded the highest inflation rates
for the month at 2.8 and 2.7 percent, respectively. Both municipalities
had the largest increases in the overall ‘Transport’ category and in home
rental prices, which were largely responsible for their high inflation rates.
Across the nation, Dangriga and Punta Gorda Town recorded the only
decreases in consumer prices for the month. Fuel prices were not as high
in Dangriga during the month when compared to the other municipalities,
while Punta Gorda recorded one of the smallest increases in the overall
IMPORTS DOWN 3.2%, EXPORTS DOWN 10.7% IN DECEMBER 2016
December 2016: Belize’s total imports for the month of December 2016
were valued at $173.9 million. This was a decrease of 3.2 percent or $5.8
million from last December’s imports, which were valued at $179.7 million.
For the second consecutive month, imports of ‘Machinery and Transport
Equipment’ remained the category with the steepest decline, recording a
drop of over $7 million in December 2016, due mostly to reduced purchases
of tractors, telecommunication parts and four cylinder vehicles. While lower
imports of gaming machines and AC generators contributed to a $2.7 million
decrease in goods destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’, diminished
purchases of turkey meat, along with instant and roasted coffee led to a $1.6
million fall in the ‘Food and Live Animals’ category during the month. Imports
into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’, on the other hand, grew by over $4 million,
with cigarettes and various types of bags being among the increased items.
Additionally, in December 2016, $2.6 million more was spent on ‘Mineral Fuels
and Lubricants’ when compared to December 2015, as quantities of imported
diesel spiked during the month. The categories of ‘Manufactured Goods’ and
‘Crude Materials’ went up by $1.2 million and $1 million, respectively, largely
driven by increased imports of corrugated steel rods and pine lumber.
TWELVE MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports for the year 2016
totaled almost $2 billion, a decrease of 4.3 percent or $89.1 million from the
total imports recorded for 2015.
The year’s most significant drop in imports was observed within the ‘Export
Processing Zones’ category, which fell from $115.8 million to $45.3 million,
mainly because as Belize’s shrimp exports diminished, so did the industry’s
demand for shrimp feed. In 2016, Belize spent over $20 million less on diesel
fuel, despite only a minor reduction in the quantities imported, as a result of
lower world market prices for fuel, leading to a $37.7 million decline in the
‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category. Importation of ‘Chemical Products’
shrank by $13.7 million for the year, primarily due to reduced purchases of PVC
pipes, fertilizers, and medical supplies, while lowered imports of handbags,
clothes and cigarettes resulted in an $11.6 million decline in the ‘Commercial
Free Zones’ category. Decreased purchases of carton boxes, tires and steel
bars resulted in an $11.1 million drop in imports of ‘Manufactured Goods’. On
the other hand, imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ rose by $29.2
million during the year 2016 due to increased imports of telecommunication
parts, while ‘Other Manufactures’ were up by almost $20 million as a result
of heightened purchases of prefabricated buildings and laboratory plastics.
December 2016: Total domestic exports for December 2016 amounted
to $17.9 million, down 10.7 percent or $2.1 million when compared to
With orange concentrate earnings down by almost a half compared to
December 2015, the last month of the year saw a drop of $2.8 million in citrus
exports, from $6.2 million to $3.4 million. Banana sales contributed minimally
to the month’s decline, as exports for that commodity decreased only slightly
from $5.7 million to $5.1 million. Sugar, the country’s largest export revenue
earner, grew negligibly in comparison to December 2015, from $0.4 million to
$0.5 million. In contrast, the category of marine exports performed strongly at
the close of the year, as improved shrimp exports prompted a climb in revenues from $3.6 million to $5.7 million for the month.
TWELVE MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Domestic exports for the year 2016 totaled $401.9 million, down 25.1 percent or $134.7 million dollars from the $536.6 million
recorded for 2015.
This significant drop in Belize’s export earnings for the year 2016 when compared to 2015 was as a result of decreased earnings across all major commodities.
Citrus, the least impacted of these commodities, experienced only a minimal 1.5 percent decline during the year. Despite a marked drop in the quantities of orange
concentrate exported, that product enjoyed favourable market prices over the year, the overall result being only a modest fall in citrus export earnings.
Sugar fell by a sizeable 23.3 percent, from $134.4 million during 2015 to $103.1 million in 2016, despite virtually no change in exported volumes, due to lowered
world market prices for this commodity. Banana earnings also experienced a steep drop, with a 28.5 percent slump in revenues, from $97.8 million in 2015 to almost
$70 million in 2016. Crude petroleum exports for the year 2016 amounted to $22.5 million, down $13.9 million from that of 2015. The year’s low world market prices
for crude, coupled with a 17.1 percent reduction in the quantity of exported barrels, resulted in a 38.2 percent drop in earnings for that commodity. Notwithstanding
shrimp’s positive showing towards the end of 2016, the year’s greatest export losses were observed within the marine category, with revenue falling by over a half,
from $88.1 million in 2015 to almost $42 million in 2016.