Consumer Price Index
CONSUMER PRICES UP 1% IN SEPTEMBER 2018
ALL-ITEMS: Results from the Statistical Institute of Belize's monthly
Consumer Price Index (CPI) survey show that for the month of
September 2018, the All-Items CPI stood at 1 05.4, an increase of 1
percent from 104.4 in September 2017 (see Figure 1 ). This means that,
on average, households in Belize experienced a 1 percent increase
in the cost of goods and services regularly purchased for daily living.
For the first nine months of the year, a year-to-date inflation rate of 0.3
percent was recorded.
TRANSPORT:With an increase of 1.7 percent for the month, the
'Transport' category was the main contributor to the overall increase
in consumer prices compared to September 2017. This was mainly
attributed to a 6.2 percent increase among prices in the 'Fuel and
Lubricants' sub category. At the pump, the price per gallon of Premium
gasoline rose by $0.59 from $11.17 in September 2017 to $11 .76
in September 2018, Regular gasoline rose by $0.72 from $10.38 to
$11.10, and Diesel increased by $1 .31 from $9.40 to $10.71 (see Table
1 ). Also contributing to the overall increase in prices within this category
were international airfares, which were 5.6 percent higher than they
were in September 2017, and the cost of motor vehicle maintenance
and repairs, which increased by 5.3 percent Although there were some
small price decreases recorded within this category, such as the cost of
new motor vehicles and of vehicle spare parts and accessories, these
were insufficient to offset the increases in fuel, airfare and maintenance
and repair prices.
FOOD & NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES and ALCOHOLIC
BEVERAGES: For the month of
September 2017, prices within the category of 'Food and Non-Alcoholic
Beverages' saw an overall decrease of 0.4 percent in comparison to
September of last year (see Figure 1 ). This slight decline was primarily
due to decreases in several food items, with lower prices being
recorded for several meat products such as beef steak and pork chops,
along with some vegetables and fruits. However, these decreases were
mostly offset by higher prices among other products, including whole
chicken, red kidney beans, pineapple and natural milk (see Table 1 ).
HOUSING, WATER, ELECTRICITY, GAS AND OTHER FUELS: The
'Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels' category recorded
an overall 1.5 percent increase during the month. Average home rental
costs rose by 1.1 percent in comparison to September of 2017, while
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) prices were up 15.5 percent The
average cost of a 1 DO-pound cylinder of LPG jumped from $99.55
in September 2017 to $114.97 in September 2018 (see Table 1). In
addition, electricity tariffs, which saw an increase earlier in this year,
were up 6.4 percent compared to last September, further contributing
to the overall rise recorded for this category.
ALL OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES:Across 'All Other categories
of Goods and Services' prices
saw an average increase of 1.1
percent during September 2018,
compared to September of last
year. This was due to higher
prices for a number of services,
including doctor consultation
and surgery fees, entrance fees
to sporting events and facilities,
motor vehicle insurance
premiums, and pre-primary and
primary education fees.
INFLATION RATES BY
MUNICIPALITIES: The twin towns of San Ignacio/
Santa Elena reported the highest
rate of increase in consumer
prices among the various
municipalities, with a monthly
inflation rate of 2.9 percent
Households in those towns
experienced above average
increases in home rental
prices compared to the other
municipalities. Dangriga Town
recorded the lowest inflation rate
for the month, with prices going
down on average by 0.6 percent
during September 2018.
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS DOWN 1.2%, DOMESTIC EXPORTS DOWN 21.4% IN SEPTEMBER 2018
SEPTEMBER 2018: For the month of September 2018, Belize
imported goods valuing $142.8 million. This represented a
1.2 percent or $1.7 million decrease from the same month in
2017, when imports totalled $144.5 million.
The slight downturn in overall imports for the month was
primarily the result of a significant drop in goods destined for
the ‘Commercial Free Zones’, which overshadowed increased
spending across most of the other commodity categories.
Imports into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ plunged by over 42
percent or $15.3 million, from $36.3 million in September of
last year to just above $21 million in September 2018, owing
to decreased purchases of cigarettes, footwear, clothing and
bags. Imports meant for the ‘Export Processing Zones’, the
only other category to have shown a marked decrease for the
month, saw a 50 percent reduction from $2.9 million to $1.5
million, as the country bought less solar panels, pine lumber
and steel plates in September of this year when compared to
that same month last year.
Greater imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’,
‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ and ‘Manufactured Goods’
partially offset the decreases in the previous categories.
Imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, which
recorded the largest increase of the three, grew by onethird
or $8.6 million, from almost $26 million in September
2017 to $34.6 million in September of this year, due mostly
to high-value purchases of aviation and telecommunications
equipment. Furthermore, Belize spent considerably more
on ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, as imports of bunker C
fuel tripled and regular gasoline saw a near 50% increase
in imported quantities during the month. This category rose
by one-fourth or $4.3 million, from just below $17 million in
September 2017 to $21.3 million in September 2018. Similarly,
imports of ‘Manufactured Goods’ went up from $19.4 million
to $20.6 million, owing to higher purchases of steel rods for
FIRST NINE MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports
for the first nine months, January to September 2018,
amounted to $1.4 billion, representing a 4.7 percent or $62.7
million increase from the same period last year.
Greater expenditures across three categories, ‘Mineral Fuels
and Lubricants’, ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ and
‘Commercial Free Zones’ were for the most part responsible
for this rise in imports over the period. The ‘Mineral Fuels
and Lubricants’ category went up by 20 percent from $169.3
million in 2017 to $203.8 million in 2018, due largely to higher
world market prices for fuel. An increase in imports of highly priced items, such as aviation and telecommunications equipment,
drove the ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ category up by $25.8 million, from $270.5 million during the first nine months of
2017 to $296.3 million during the same period of this year, while imports into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ rose by $11.2 million, from
$214.7 million to $225.9 million, due to increased purchases of bags and clothing.
SEPTEMBER 2018: Total domestic exports for September 2018 amounted to $38.1 million, down 21.4 percent or $10.4 million
when compared to exports for September 2017, which were valued at $48.5 million.
Diminished returns from sugar was the principal cause of the decline in export earnings for the month. Although exported volumes
of this commodity saw only a slight 3.3 percent drop compared to September of last year, revenues from that commodity fell
significantly by 27.2 percent, from $28.5 million to $20.7 million, as bulk sugar was sold for noticeably less on the European market
compared to last September. Bananas saw a smaller reduction in earnings for the month, falling by less than a million, from $8 million
in September 2017 to $7.1 million in the same month this year, while revenues for citrus products remained virtually unchanged
at approximately $3.6 million. Among the major commodities, marine products recorded the only increase for the month, as export
earnings for rose from $2.3 million to $3.1 million, due to boosted sales of whole lobsters, lobster meat and shrimp. Molasses and
sawn wood, while not classified as major exports, fell sharply in the month, resulting in a combined revenue loss of $2.2 million when
compared to September 2017.
Earnings from exports to the United Kingdom surged by $22.4 million during the month, from $2.3 million last September to $24.7
million in September 2018, while exports to the rest of the European Union plunged from $35.2 million to a little over $4 million,
the result of the redirection of Belize’s bulk sugar for the month. Additionally, with the sharp decline in other exports, particularly
molasses and sawn wood, export revenues from the United States of America dwindled from $4.4 million in September 2017 to $2.6
million in September 2018.
FIRST NINE MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the period January to September 2018 totalled $313.9 million,
down 14.9 percent or almost $56 million from the same period last year.
Export earnings for all of Belize’s major products were down during first nine months of the year. Sugar suffered the greatest loss at
22.4 percent or just under $31 million, falling from $138.2 million in 2017 to $107.3 million in 2018, in spite of a 4.1 percent increase
in exported volumes of that commodity, owing to a disadvantageous price reduction for bulk sugar on the European market. Exports
of citrus products declined by 10.8 percent or $7.7 million, from $71.9 million to $64.2 million, due largely to a notable drop in sales
of orange oil coupled with a 5.5 percent reduction in exports of orange concentrate from $53.6 million in 2017 to $50.7 million in
2018. For the nine month period, earnings from bananas fell by 8.4 percent or $5.2 million, from $61.6 million to $56.4 million.
Notwithstanding strong sales of conch and lobster tails, exports of marine products diminished by $1.3 million, from $27.3 million to
just above $26 million, on account of a more than 50 percent drop in shrimp sales. For the period January to September, revenues
from crude petroleum declined minimally, from $16.5 million in 2017 to $15.9 million in 2018.
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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)