Consumer Price Index

CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.6% IN JUNE 2017

During the month of June 2016, the All-Items Consumer Price Index stood at 104.4, an increase from 103.7 in June 2016. The prices of goods and services regularly purchased by Belizean Households were, on average, 0.6 percent higher than they were in the same month of 2016 (See Figure 1). For the first six months of 2017, a year-to-date inflation rate of 1.5 percent was recorded.

The ‘Transport’ index was the single greatest contributor to the overall rise in consumer prices for the month of June 2017, with items within this category rising on average by 6.7 percent when compared to June 2017 (See Figure 2). Higher motor car purchase prices, international airfares, and national bus fares all contributed significantly to the increase in ‘Transport’ costs. In addition, ‘Fuels and Lubricants’ saw increases across fuel types, with the highest price hike being recorded for Premium gasoline, which rose by almost 19 percent from $8.94 in June of last year to $10.62 in June 2017. Diesel prices were up 7 percent from $8.49 to $9.08, while Regular gasoline was up almost 6 percent from $9.43 to $9.97.

Prices within the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category rose slightly by 0.3 percent when compared to June of last year, mainly due to an 18.9 percent increase in the average price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The average cost of a 100-pound cylinder of LPG rose from $83.90 in June 2016 to $99.74 in June 2017 (see Table 1). The increase in LPG prices overshadowed a marginal 0.4 percent decrease in home rental prices for the period.

Consumers saw a slight decrease of 0.6 percent for items within the category of ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’. Prices within this category have remained relatively stable since late 2016, with only a few items driving the overall decline during this month. These included eggs, milks, beef steak, whole chickens, onions, cabbages and watermelons (see Table 1).

Across the country’s various municipalities, Dangriga once again experienced the highest increase in consumer prices for the month. This municipality recorded an inflation rate of 3.1 percent, due primarily to a higher than average increase in home rental prices. Orange Walk Town, on the other hand, which saw home rental costs decline in comparison to June 2017, had the lowest inflation rate of negative 1.2 percent (see Figure 3).

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External Trade Bulletin

IMPORTS DOWN 4.9%, EXPORTS UP 5.2% IN JUNE 2017

IMPORTS

June 2017: Belize’s total imports for the month of June 2017 were valued at $154.7 million. This was a decrease of 4.9 percent or $8 million from imports for June 2016, which totalled $162.7 million, and was as a result of reduced imports across several of the major categories of goods.

A significant drop in ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ from $20.5 million to $14.6 million was the primary contributor to the overall fall in imports for the month. There were significant decreases in the quantities of all types of fuel imported, with the volume of diesel purchased from abroad falling by one third while that of gasoline declined by almost a half compared to June of last year. No kerosene was imported during the month. The ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ category saw a $4.6 million drop from $32.7 million to $28 million, owing to decreased imports of 4-cylinder vehicles, transformers, aircraft engines and transport vehicles. Lower imports of printed books, school bags and plastic laboratory articles resulted in a $2.5 million decline in ‘Other Manufactures’ from $16.4 million to $13.9 million, while fewer imports of handbags and cigarettes were reflected in a $2.2 million decrease in goods destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zone’ from $29.1 million to $26.9 million.


The most substantial increase in imports was seen in the ‘Chemical Products’ category, which rose from $17.3 million in June of 2016 to $19.9 million in June 2017. ‘Beverages and Tobacco’, meanwhile, grew by $2.2 million from $1.8 million to $4 million, owing to heightened imports of cigarettes and whisky during the month. ‘Food and Live Animals’ experienced a $1.9 million rise compared to the same month in 2016, with increased purchases of lard and shortening, maize seeds, and soups and broths resulting in an increase from $17.4 million to $19.2 million within this category.

FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports for the period January to June 2017 totaled $894.3 million, representing a 4.8 percent or a $45 million decrease from the same six-month period last year. Imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ plummeted by $56 million, from $239 million to $182.6 million, due to lower purchases of recording and transmission parts and equipment. Falling imports of ‘Food and Live Animals’ resulted in a $7 million decline from $116.4 million in 2016 to $109.4 million in 2017. Goods destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’ dropped by $7.5 million, owing to reduced purchases of gaming and woodwork machines, while imports to the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ were down by $4.7 million, due to decreased purchases of handbags, tobacco, footwear, and men’s clothing.

EXPORTS

June 2017: Total domestic exports for June 2017 were valued at $38.7 million, up 5.2 percent or $1.9 million when compared to the same period last year, as a substantial increase in sugar sales for the month offset decreases among the other major exports.

June 2017. Marine products also saw some improvement, due almost entirely to a $1.6 million increase in shrimp sales. In contrast, other major exports experienced noteable downturns. Citrus concentrate sales fell from by almost $4 million from $12.4 million to $8.7 million, while banana earnings were down to $5 million, a modest decrease of $1 million when compared to June 2016. No crude petroleum was exported during the month of June 2017, compared to $5.4 million in sales for the same month of last year.

FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Total domestic exports for the first six months of 2017 were valued at $276.3 million, up $44.5 million or 19.2 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Sugar continued to be Belize’s top export earner during the period, recording $107.6 million in earnings and accounting for more than a third of total exports for January to June 2017. Earnings from this commodity were up substantially by 76 percent from the $61.3 million recorded in 2016. Banana exports rose by $6 million from $35.7 million to $41.7 million, while marine earnings saw an increase, bolstered by a $2.7 million rise in shrimp sales. Citrus concentrate exports saw a $17.6 million decline over the period, falling from $63 million in 2016 to $45.4 million in 2017.


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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)