Consumer Price Index
CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.9% IN JANUARY 2017
The latest figures released by the Statistical Institute of Belize show that, on
average, the prices of goods and services purchased by Belizean Households
were 0.9 percent higher in January 2017 than they were in January of 2016.
The All-Items consumer price index stood at 104.1, an increase from 103.2
in January 2016.
The ‘Fuel’ sub-category continues to follow last year’s pattern, trending
upward. Diesel prices recorded the highest increase when compared to
January 2016, rising 40 percent from $6.52 to $9.12. The average price of
premium gasoline stood at $10.12 for the month of January 2017, an 18
percent increase from $8.57 in January 2016, while regular gasoline stood
at $9.96, a 23 percent increase from $8.11 in the same month of 2016.
Further driving the category upwards, international airfare prices recorded
a 47 percent increase when compared to last January, while the rise in bus
fares in October of last year was reflected in a 5.6 percent increase in the
‘Passenger Transport by Road’ sub-category. As a result of these increases,
the ‘Transport’ category recorded an overall 9.4 percent increase for the
The ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category falling by 2.5 percent was
able to slightly offset the rise in that of ‘Transport’ during the month. ‘Food’
prices fell by more than 2 percent, mainly due to decreases in the average
prices of certain meats and vegetables. The average price per pound of
beef steak, for example, dropped by 9 percent from $8.65 in January of last
year to $7.86 in the same month of 2017, while that of pork chops fell from
$7.18 to $6.93. Among vegetables and fruits, prices for sweet pepper and
watermelon each saw significant decreases during the month (see Table 1).
The cost for a dozen eggs also declined, falling by 14 percent during the
The ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category recorded
a 0.1 percent increase in comparison to January of 2016. While electricity
tariffs were up by 5.9 percent compared to January of 2016, the average
price of a 100-pound cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) increased
by 2.1 percent1. Home rental prices were down slightly by 0.2 percent during
Although most municipalities saw increases in consumer prices during the
month of January 2017, Punta Gorda and Dangriga Town both recorded
decreases of 0.4 percent. Orange Walk Town had the highest rate of
inflation, at 2.6 percent, with Belmopan not far behind at 2.4 percent (see
figure 3). ‘Transport’ once again played a key role in the varying inflation
rates across the country. Orange Walk Town recorded the highest increase
in the ’Transport’ index while Punta Gorda experienced one of the smallest.
1 The increase in LPG prices, which took effect January 11th, was after the price
collection period for the month but will be captured in the CPI for February.
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS UP 7.7%, EXPORTS UP 51.2% IN JANUARY 2017
January 2017: During the month of January 2017, Belize’s total
imports were valued at $141.1 million, rising by 7.7 percent or $10.1
million when compared to almost $131 million imported in January
The start of the year saw increased imports across most categories,
with goods destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ recording the
largest growth at $5.6 million. While this upswing was mainly the
result of heightened purchases of cigarettes, greater importation of
books, plastic crates and prefabricated buildings led to a $3 million
rise in the ‘Other Manufactures’ category. Notably, the year began
with an upsurge in world market prices for fuel, and despite seeing
only a moderate increase in the quantity of regular fuel imported,
Belize spent considerably more in January 2017 than it did in
January 2016 on this product. This contributed to a marked climb
in the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category, from $10.6 million
to $12.8 million. While boosted wheat seed imports during the
month prompted a more than $2 million spike in the ‘Food and Live
Animals’ category, importation of ‘Manufactured Goods’ rose by
approximately the same amount on account of more purchases of
carton boxes, tyres and structures made of iron or steel. Additionally,
significant imports of corn oil for the month resulted in a $1.6 million
increase in the ‘Oils and Fats’ category.
On the other hand, imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’
fell by $3.6 million for the month, owing in large part to decreased
purchases of four cylinder vehicles and liquid transformers. Goods
meant for the ‘Export Processing Zones’ dropped from $5.1 million
to $1.8 million, with gaming machines, electric generators and
structures made of iron or steel being among the items in greatest
January 2017: The total value of Belize’s domestic exports for
the month of January 2017 was $34.6 million, up 51.2 percent or
$11.7 million from the $22.9 million recorded in January 2016.
Sugar was the chief contributor to the surge in export earnings at
the commencement of 2017. Bulk shipments of sugar caused a
$10.1 million dollar growth in sugar receipts, from $1.8 million to
$11.9 million, as scheduling of bulk shipments differed from January
2016. Belize’s other major exports, banana, crude petroleum and
marine products, also performed well in the first month of the year.
Banana exports went up by a sizeable $3 million, from $4.8 million
to $7.8 million, while crude petroleum sales benefited from the long
anticipated upturn in the world market prices for that commodity.
Revenues from crude petroleum grew by over 70 percent or $2.4
million, from $3.4 million to $5.8 million, although the volumes
exported in January 2017 remained virtually unchanged from that
of January 2016. Shrimp sales, supplemented by improved exports
of lobster tails and conch, drove the marine category up from $2.5
million to $3.7 million.
In contrast, citrus was the only major export to experience decreased earnings in January 2017, falling from $3.5 million to $1.6 million, due to
a drop in orange concentrate exports.
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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)