Consumer Price Index
CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.8% IN OCTOBER 2018
ALL-ITEMS: Results from the Statistical Institute of Belize's monthly
Consumer Price Index survey show that, for the month of October
2018, the All-Items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 1 05.3. This
represented an increase, or inflation rate, of 0.8 percent compared to
October 2017, when a CPI of 104.6 was recorded (see Figure 1 ). This
means that on average, Belizean households paid 0.8 percent more
for the same set of regularly purchased goods and services in October
2018 than they did during the same month of 2017. For the first ten
months of this year, the cumulative inflation rate stood at 0.3 percent.
HOUSING, WATER, ELECTRICITY, GAS AND OTHER FUELS:With
an overall increase of 1.5 percent for the month, the "Housing, Water,
Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels" category was the main contributor
to the overall rise in consumer prices for October 2018. Home rental
costs were up 1.1 percent compared to October 2017, due primarily
to higher rental costs in San Ignacio/Santa Elena and Punta Gorda.
Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) rose by 14.8 percent, as the average
cost of a 1 00-pound cylinder of LPG rose by almost $15, from $100.21
in October 2017 to $115.04 in October 2018 (see Table 1). Adding to
the overall increase within this category were electricity tariffs, which
were up by 6.4 percent when compared to the same period last year,
owing to rate increases which went into effect earlier this year.
TRANSPORT: Prices within the "Transport" category, which saw
an overall increase of 1.0 percent for the month, also contributed
significantly to the higher consumer prices observed for October 2018.
This rise was mainly the result of a 4.1 percent increase in the "Fuels
and Lubricants" sub-category. At the pump, the price per gallon of
Diesel went up by 11 .3 percent from $9.65 in October 2017 to $10.75
in October 2018. Regular gasoline rose by 7.8 percent from $10.44 to
$11 .25, while Premium gasoline fell slightly by 0.9 percent from $11 .95
to $11.83 (see Table 1). Also contributing to the overall increase in
prices within this category were international airfares, which were 5.6
percent higher when compared to October 2017. Although there were
some decreases, such as in the cost of spare parts and accessories for
motor vehicles, these were insufficient to overshadow the higher fuel
costs and airfares recorded for the month.
FOOD & NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES and ALCOHOLIC
BEVERAGES: For the month of
October 2018, prices for the "Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages"
category saw an overall decrease of 0.9 percent when compared
to October 2017 (see Figure 1). Lower prices were recorded for
several meat products, such as pig tail and whole chicken, along with
some vegetable and fruit items, including sweet peppers, limes and
cabbages. These were able to offset price increases in other items,
such as ground beef, beef steak, natural milk and watermelons (see
ALL OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES: Across all the
remaining categories of goods
and services, prices increased
on average by 1.1 percent in
October 2018 compared to
the same month last year. This
was due to higher motor vehicle
insurance premiums as well as
higher doctor consultation fees
and surgery costs.
INFLATION RATES BY MUNICIPALITY: For the third
consecutive month, the twin
towns of San Ignacio/Santa
Elena experienced the highest
rate of increase in consumer
prices, with an inflation rate of
2.7 percent. Consumers in those
towns saw increases in home
rental prices that were above the
national average for the month.
On the other hand, Dangriga
Town saw consumer prices
going down by 0.9 percent, as
this town recorded lower food
and home rental costs compared
to October of last year.
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IMPORTS UP 14.4%, DOMESTIC EXPORTS DOWN 5.1% IN OCTOBER 2018
OCTOBER 2018: Belize’s total imports for the month of
October 2018 were valued at over $193 million. This was
an increase of 14.4 percent or $24.3 million from imports for
October 2017, which totaled $168.7 million.
A significant 71 percent growth in the category of ‘Mineral Fuels
and Lubricants’, coupled with a sizeable 55 percent increase
in purchases of ‘Chemical Products’ was the leading cause of
rising imports for the month. The category of ‘Mineral Fuels
and Lubricants’ surged by $12.4 million, from $17.5 million
in October 2017 to $29.9 million in October 2018, owing to
larger quantities of regular and diesel fuels being imported,
and compounded by higher world market prices across all
fuels. In addition, while there were no imports of premium fuel
for last October, there were purchases of this fuel in October
of this year. Imports of ‘Chemical Products’ rose sharply by
$7.4 million, from $13.5 million to $20.9 million, due primarily
to substantial purchases of fertilizers for the month. In
addition, an increase in goods destined for the ‘Commercial
Free Zones and an uptick in food purchases from abroad also
contributed to the growth in imports for the month. Imports
into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ went up by $4.2 million,
from $31.6 million in last October to $35.8 million in October
of this year, on account of greater purchases of cigarettes,
women’s clothing and footwear. The category of ‘Food and
Live Animals’ rose from $20.8 million to $22.9 million, as the
country bought more lard (shortening), margarine and infant
cereal compared to October of last year.
Notwithstanding the overall increase in imports for the month,
decreases were noted in the category of ‘Other Manufactures’,
which saw a reduction of $1.9 million, from $15.4 million to
$13.5 million, as a result of fewer purchases of metal furniture,
medical equipment and laboratory plastics.
FIRST TEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports
for the first ten months, January to October 2018, amounted
to $1.6 billion, representing a 5.8 percent or an almost $87
million increase from the same period last year.
Higher world market prices for fuel had the greatest impact
on the growth in imports over the ten-month period, resulting
in a 25 percent or nearly $47 million increase in ‘Mineral
Fuels and Lubricants’, from $186.7 million in 2017 to $233.7
million in 2018. Likewise, heightened imports of aviation
equipment, telecommunications equipment and four-cylinder
vehicles drove the ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’
category up by $25.3 million, from $305.3 million to $330.6
million. Increased imports of bags, cigarettes, and clothing,
such as sport uniforms and sweaters, led to a rise in goods
destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’, from $246.3 million
to $261.6 million. Furthermore, the categories of ‘Food and
Live Animals’, ‘Chemical Products’, ‘Beverages and Tobacco’
and ‘Export Processing Zones’ also saw increased imports over the period. Owing to greater purchases of lard(shortening), vitamin
supplements, coffee, and other food items, ‘Food and Live Animals’ went up by $6.3 million, from $178.7 million in 2017 to a
little over $185 million in 2018. Larger purchases of fertilizers and herbicides during the period resulted in an almost $3 million
rise in importation of ‘Chemical Products’, from $146.5 million to $149.5 million. For the ten-month period, a spike in imports of
liquor prompted noticeable growth in the ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ category, from $29.2 million to $31.1 million, while increased
purchases of parts for food processing and filtering machines, along with temperature-altering equipment drove imports into the
‘Export Processing Zones’ up by $1.9 million, from $31.4 million in 2017 to $33.3 million in 2018.
On the other hand, the categories of ‘Other Manufactures’ and ‘Crude Materials’ saw the only notable decreases for the period.
Reduced imports of laboratory plastics, prefabricated steel buildings and gaming machines led to a drop in the category of ‘Other
Manufactures’, from just above $136 million to $126.3 million, while imports of ‘Crude Materials’ fell by $5.3 million, from $29.5 million
to $24.2 million, due to fewer purchases of grass seeds, asphalt and pine lumber.
OCTOBER 2018: Total domestic exports for October 2018 amounted to $35.2 million, down 5.1 percent or $1.9 million when
compared to exports for October 2017, which were valued at $37.1 million.
A steep decline in exports of sugar was the primary contributor to the fall in overall earnings for the month, as sales for that
commodity plunged from $9.4 million in October 2017 to $2.2 million in October 2018. Export revenues from citrus products and
bananas, however, remained nearly unchanged during the tenth month of the year, with earnings from citrus exports amounting to
$3.1 million and revenues from bananas summing to $8.9 million in October of 2018.
In contrast, exports of marine products grew markedly by nearly one-third or $1.4 million, from $4.4 million to $5.8 million, which was
driven for the most part by strong sales of conch during the month. Similarly, earnings from crude petroleum rose by over 39 percent,
from $6.3 million in October 2017 to $8.7 million in October 2018, despite there being very little change in exported volumes, as a
result of favorable world market prices for that commodity. Furthermore, red kidney beans, though not classified as a major export,
saw a sharp increase in earnings for the month, from $0.1 million during last October to $1.2 million in October of this year.
Due the sizeable decline in sugar exports for the month, earnings from the United Kingdom fell considerably, by 40.1 percent from
$11.4 million to $6.8 million, while revenues from the United States of America slumped by 44.2 percent, from $9.6 million to $5.4
million. Export earnings from CARICOM, however, grew by 37.2 percent or nearly $4 million, from $10.6 million to $14.6 million, due
to boosted returns from crude petroleum exports to that region.
FIRST TEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the period January to October 2018 totaled $355.1 million, down 14
percent or $57.9 million from the same period last year.
A substantial drop in earnings from sugar was the principal reason for the downturn in export revenues for the period. While exported
volumes of sugar were virtually unchanged, earnings from that major export plummeted by almost 26 percent or $38.3 million,
from $147.7 million in 2017 to $109.4 million in 2018, as a result of reduced prices, particularly on the European market. Exports of
citrus products and bananas also fell notably over the ten-month period. Owing largely to diminished sales of orange oil and orange
concentrate, earnings from citrus exports declined by 10.5 percent during the period, from $75.2 million to $67.3 million, while
revenues from bananas shrank by 7.4 percent, from $70.5 million to $65.2 million. Exports of marine products, on the other hand,
grew slightly, as improved sales of both conch and lobster tails effectively offset decreased shrimp earnings over the period, resulting
in a total of $31.9 million in export revenues from marine products. Crude petroleum exports experienced a $1.9 million increase in
earnings, growing from $22.7 million in 2017 to $24.6 million in 2018, despite a considerable 25.2 percent drop in exported volumes,
as prices for that product remained favourable over the period.
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3rd Quarter 2018 Gross National Product
ECONOMY GROWS 3.3% IN THIRD QUARTER 2018: PRIMARY AND TERTIARY ACTIVITIES UP, SECONDARY ACTIVITIES DOWN
For the three months of July to September 2018, the total level
of economic activity in the country of Belize increased by 3.3
percent in comparison to the same three months of 2017. The
Statistical Institute of Belize estimates that the total value of goods
and services produced within the country during this period was
$670.9 million, an increase of $21.2 million from $649.7 million
produced in the third quarter of 2017 (see Figure 1).
The primary and tertiary sectors experienced growth rates of 6.3
percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. The secondary sector, on
the other hand, contracted by 2.6 percent during the quarter (see
PRIMARY ACTIVITIES: The primary sector, which accounts
for about one tenth of the country’s economic activity, grew by
6.3 percent when compared to the same period of last year.
Increased market demand resulted in a 9.1 percent increase in the
livestock industry, with cattle production growing by 32.3 percent
and poultry production rising by 1.9 percent. In anticipation of
heightened demand for local hams for the Christmas season, pig
production recorded an increase of 43.2 percent compared to the
third quarter of 2017 (see Figure 3). Although the fishing industry
continues to struggle towards recovery, marine exports recorded
an increase of 43.6 percent in comparison to the same three months of last year, largely due to a growth in shrimp exports. The
effect of these increases were only slightly dampened by a 0.3
percent decline in banana production, from 25 thousand metric
tons in the third quarter of 2017 to 24.9 thousand metric tons
during the third quarter of 2018, due mainly to adverse weather
SECONDARY ACTIVITIES: The secondary sector, which makes
up about one-fifth of Belize’s economy, declined by 2.6 percent
during the second quarter of 2018, as some major industries
experienced decreases in production. Reduced output of
both petroleum and flour resulted in a 3.3 percent drop in the
“Manufacturing & Mining” sector. “Electricity & Water” activities
declined by 1.1 percent, with electricity generation down by 1.4
percent, due to insufficient rainfall in the Vaca reserve area (see
Figure 4), and water generation rising only marginally by 0.1
percent. Construction activities experienced a decrease of 4.7
percent compared to the third quarter of 2017, as work in some
municipalities slowed down, while beverage production grew by
4.1 percent, mainly in response to an increase in market demand.
TERTIARY ACTIVITIES: The services sector, which accounts
for more than half of the country’s total economy, grew by 3.7
percent during the third quarter of 2018 when compared to the
same period of 2017. The “Hotels and Restaurants” subsector
grew by 17.2 percent, due primarily to a 15.3 percent increase in
overnight visitors for the period. As the number of direct flights to
Belize increased, the number of visitors from the United States of
America rose by 16.2 percent, while tourists from Europe were up
22.7 percent, and Canadian visitors increased by, 56.7 percent.
The number of cruise visitors also recorded substantial growth
of 55.5 percent, as there were 27 more cruise ship calls during
the quarter than in the same three-month period in 2017 (see
Figure 5). “Wholesale and Retail Trade” recorded an increase
of 7.0 percent, as evidenced by an expansion in merchandise
imports, while “Government Services” rose by 1.2 percent during
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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)