Consumer Price Index
Consumer Prices Up 0.9% in October 2017
ALL-ITEMS: During the month of October 2017 the All-Items
Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 104.6, an increase from the
CPI of 103.6 recorded in October of 2016 (See Figure 1). This means
that the average Belizean Household experienced a 0.9 percent
increase in the cost of regularly purchased goods and services when
compared to October of last year. For the first nine months of 2017, a
year-to-date inflation rate of 1.2 percent was recorded.
TRANSPORT: Going into the fourth quarter of 2017, the ‘Transport’
index, up 7.8 percent remained the main contributor to rising
consumer prices. Within the sub-category of ‘Fuels and Lubricants’
an 8.7 percent increase was recorded, as all fuel types experienced
higher prices in comparison to October of last year. The price per
gallon of Premium gasoline rose by 18 percent from $10.13 in
October 2016 to $11.95 in October 2017, while Regular gasoline rose
11.9 percent from $9.32 per gallon to $10.44 per gallon, and the price
per gallon of Diesel was up 13.2 percent from $8.53 to $9.65 (See
Table 1). Higher international airfares along with last year’s increase
in domestic bus fares also contributed to the overall rise in Transport
costs during the month.
FOOD & NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES and ALCOHOLIC
BEVERAGES & TOBACCO: A decline in the prices of several ‘Food’
items resulted in a 0.8 percent overall decrease in the ‘Food and Non-
Alcoholic Beverages’ category (See Figure 2). Various meat products,
including ground beef, beef steak, pig tail, and whole chicken, along
with other food items such as eggs and milk recorded slight price
decreases for the month (See Table1). ‘Alcoholic Beverages and
Tobacco’, on the other hand saw a 6.3 percent increase in October of
2017, reflecting the increase in excise taxes earlier in the year, which
resulted in an increase in the cost of beer compared to the same
month last year.
HOUSING, WATER, ELECTRICITY, GAS & OTHER FUELS:
rental costs were up slightly by 0.4 percent in comparison to last
October, while Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) recorded a 14.9
percent price increase as the average cost of a 100-pound cylinder
of LPG rose from $86.61 in October 2016 to $99.51 in October 2017
(See Table 1). As a result, an overall 0.9 percent rise in the ‘Housing,
Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category was recorded.
INFLATION BY MUNICIPALITY: During the month of October 2017,
the trend observed during the previous months continued, with
households in Dangriga experiencing the nation’s highest increase
in consumer prices at 2.4 percent, due to a higher than average rise
in home rental costs. Orange Walk Town was the only municipality
recording lower consumer prices during the month, with an inflation
rate of negative 0.3 percent, while Belmopan City had the second
lowest inflation rate at 0.1 percent. (see Figure 3).
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS UP 14%, DOMESTIC EXPORTS UP 66.4% IN OCTOBER 2017
OCTOBER 2017:For the month of October 2017, Belize imported
goods valuing $168.8 million. This represented a 14 percent or $20.7
million increase from the same month in 2016, when imports totalled
just over $148 million.
Sizeable increases across five categories led to the first significant
growth in monthly imports since the start of the year. Greater imports
of goods destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and higher food
purchases together contributed over a half of the increase seen
during the month of October. Heightened spending on clothing,
cigarettes and handbags drove imports into the ‘Commercial Free
Zones’ up by 23 percent or $5.9 million, from $25.7 million in October
of 2016 to $31.6 million in the same month of 2017. The ‘Food
and Live Animals’ category rose by one third or $5.2 million, from
$15.5 million to $20.7 million, due to a spike in wheat seed imports.
Imported manufactured goods went up by over 21 percent during the
month, from $20.1 million in October 2016 to $24.4 million in October
2017, as the country purchased more carton boxes, aluminium/zinc
coils and steel rods. The ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category,
which also grew by 21 percent, increased from $14.4 million to $17.5
million, primarily due to higher world market prices for regular fuel
and greater quantities of imported butane compared to last October.
Additionally, a surge in cigarette imports for the month of October
resulted in an increase in the ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ category,
from $1.9 million in 2016 to $3.2 million in 2017.
FIRST TEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports for
the ten months January to October 2017 amounted $1.5 billion,
representing a 4.1 percent or $64.6 million drop from the same
period last year.
‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ was the category which saw
the greatest decline over the ten-month period, falling by more than
20 percent or $80 million, from $385 million in 2016 to $305 million
in 2017, with imports of telecommunication parts and four cylinder
vehicles showing considerable decreases within that category. The
categories of ‘Other Manufactures’, ‘Food and Live Animals’ and
‘Export Processing Zones’ also dropped markedly over the January
to October period. Imports within the ‘Other Manufactures’ category
went down by $11 million, from $147 million in 2016 to $136 million
in 2017, on account of reduced purchases of prefabricated buildings
and plastic bottles, while Belize’s food import bill was also down by
about $11 million, from $190 million to $179 million, due to decreases
in goods such as soybean meal, lard (shortening) and coffee. Goods
meant for the ‘Export Processing Zones’ declined 22 percent or
almost $9 million over the period, from $40 million in 2016 to $31
million in 2017, as a result of fewer imports of gaming machines and
their parts as well as the fact that no wood planer machines were
purchased for the 2017 period.
‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, on the other hand, saw a substantial 19 percent or $29 million increase, from $152 million in 2016 to $181 million in
2017, as more was spent on imports of all types of fuels during the period. The remaining categories, ‘Chemical Products’, ‘Manufactured Goods’
and ‘Oils and Fats’, went up by a combined $17.7 million over the period.
OCTOBER 2017: The total value of Belize’s domestic exports for the month of October 2017 was $37.1 million, up 66.4 percent or $14.8 million from
the $22.3 million recorded for October 2016.
For the month of October 2017, bananas were the top earners among all exported goods. Sales for that commodity totalled $8.9 million during the
month, more than double the $4.2 million recorded for October 2016. Exports of sugar amounted to $4.7 million in October 2017, in contrast to the
same month in 2016 when no shipments of this commodity were recorded, further contributing to the overall increase in domestic export earnings.
Belize’s crude petroleum exports continued to benefit from favourable world market prices, with revenues up slightly by $0.7 million, from $5.6
million in 2016 to $6.3 million in 2017, despite there being virtually no difference in exported volumes compared to the same month of last year.
In contrast, exports of marine products fell slightly, from $4.7 million to $4.4 million during the month, largely due to a drop in conch sales from $2.7
million in October 2016 to $1.3 million in October 2017. Citrus sales also declined considerably, falling by $1.1 million from $4.4 million to $3.3
million, owing mostly to a plunge in exports of grapefruit concentrate during the month.
As a consequence of the strong sales of bananas and sugar for the month of October 2017, exports to the United Kingdom, the rest of the
European Union and the United States, all increased considerably when compared to October 2016. Exports to the United Kingdom more than
tripled, growing from $3.6 million in last October to $11.4 million in October 2017 due to increased exports of both commodities, while revenues
from the rest of the European Union rose by almost 60 percent, from $2.2 million to $3.5 million, due largely to the spike in banana sales. In October
2017, exports to the United States of America stood at $9.6 million, up $5.7 million over the $3.9 million noted for that same month last year, the
result of boosted sugar sales to the country.
FIRST TEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the period January to October 2017 totalled $413 million, up 13.2 percent or $48.1
million from the $364.9 million recorded during same period last year.
Belize’s leading export commodity, sugar, was the principal driver of the substantial growth in overall domestic exports, accounting for almost 35
percent of total export earnings over the period. For the ten months from January to October, sales from that commodity rose significantly from
$102.5 million in 2016 to nearly $143 million in 2017, a revenue increase of 39.5 percent or $40.5 million. In addition, bananas performed strongly
over the period, as sales of that product grew by 16.7 percent or $10.1 million, from $60.4 million in 2016 to $70.5 million in 2017. Sales of marine
products, however, saw only minimal improvement, rising by just over $1 million from $30.6 million to $31.7 million as a result of higher revenues
from lobster tail exports. Despite a 20 percent drop in exported volumes compared to the same period in 2016, earnings from crude petroleum
remained almost unchanged, as prices for that export continued to be favourable on the world market. On the other hand, the country’s second
largest export earner, citrus products, fell by 19.2 percent, from $93.1 million to $75.2 million, largely owing to diminished orange concentrate sales.
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ECONOMY GROWS 0.5% IN THIRD QUARTER 2017: TERTIARY ACTIVITIES UP, PRIMARY AND SECONDARY ACTIVITIES DOWN.
Preliminary estimates by the Statistical Institute of Belize indicate that,
for the three months from July to September 2017, the country’s level
of economic activity increased by 0.5 percent when compared to the
same period in 2016. The total value of goods and services produced
in Belize was $662.5 million, up $3.4 million from $659.1 million in the
third quarter of 2016 (see Figure 1). For the first nine months of the
year, the country’s level of production was also 0.5 percent higher than
PRIMARY ACTIVITIES: The primary sector, which accounts for almost
10 percent of the country’s economic activity, experienced a decline of
2.2 percent during the third quarter when compared to the same period
in 2016. Marine exports fell by 16.4 percent, contributing significantly
to a 15 percent decline in the “Fishing” sector, as the shrimp industry
continues to struggle towards recovery. Banana shipments dropped by
4 percent, from 24 thousand metric tons to 23 thousand metric tons, as
the industry continues to recover from the effects of Hurricane Earl in
2016. These declines were partially offset by an 8 percent increase in
the livestock industry, as cattle production rose by 15.9 percent while
poultry production was up by 7.1 percent compared to the third quarter
SECONDARY ACTIVITIES: Secondary activities recorded an overall
decrease of 4 percent in the third quarter of 2017. The “Electricity
and Water” sector saw a decline of 2.1 percent, due to a 3.1 percent
decrease in electricity generation when compared to the same period
of 2016. This was as a result of decreased hydroelectric generation
during the quarter, in response to a reduction in demand. Water
distribution, on the other hand, recorded an increase of 4.4 percent
due to an increase in household demand during the summer months.
“Manufacturing and Mining” activities declined by 12.6 percent, largely
due a 17.5 percent reduction in beverage production during the quarter.
Beer production was down by 8.3 percent compared to the same
quarter of 2016, due to an increase in excise tax and, by extension,
the price of beer, while soft drink production dropped by 28.8 percent,
corresponding to an increase in soft drink imports. Crude petroleum
extraction fell by 20.4 percent due to the continued natural depletion of reservoirs. On the other hand, construction activities saw an increase
of 4 percent, owing to ongoing works on infrastructural development
and private construction, as evidenced by a 20.5 percent growth in
the importation of cement during the quarter. This was also reflected
in an increase in the number of building plans approved by the Central
TERTIARY ACTIVITIES: The tertiary sector, which accounts for more
than half of Belize’s total economy, grew by 2.6 percent during the
third quarter of 2017 when compared to the same period in 2016.
“Wholesale and Retail Trade” was up by 2.9 percent, while “Transport,
Storage and Communication” increased by the same percentage, as a
result of an increase in freight. “Accommodation and Food Services”
recorded an increase of 0.9 percent as the number of overnight visitors rose by 10.9 percent and cruise passenger increased by 6.1 percent
during the quarter. It should be noted that, notwithstanding the growing
numbers of tourists visiting the country, hotel room revenues were
down in comparison to the third quarter of 2016, indicative of the trend
towards lower cost vacation rentals as opposed to traditional hotels
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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)