Consumer Price Index
Consumer Prices Down Slightly by 0.02% in November 2018
ALL-ITEMS: For the month of November 2018, the Statistical Institute
of Belize reported that the All-Items Consumer Price Index (CPI)
stood at 105.13, an almost imperceptible decrease of 0.02 percent
from 105.15 in November 2017 (see Figure 1). On average, Belizean
households experienced a 0.02 percent decrease in the cost of
regularly purchased goods and services, as higher prices for home
rentals, doctor consultations, and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
were balanced out by lower transport costs when compared to last
November. For the first eleven months of the year, the cumulative
inflation rate stood at 0.3 percent.
HOUSING, WATER, ELECTRICITY, GAS AND OTHER FUELS: Prices
within the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category
saw an overall increase of 1.6 percent for the month of November 2018.
This was due to a 1.1 percent rise in home rental costs, with higher prices
being observed in the municipalities of Orange Walk, Punta Gorda,
and San Ignacio/Santa Elena when compared to November 2017. In
addition, LPG prices were up by 16.6 percent, as the average cost of
a 100-pound cylinder rose by almost $17, from $99.36 in November
2017 to $115.81 in November 2018 (see Table 1). Also contributing
to the increase in prices for this category were electricity tariffs, which
were 6.4 percent higher than they were in November 2017, due to a
tariff increase that went into effect earlier this year.
TRANSPORT: With prices down by 4.5 percent when compared to
November 2017, ‘Transport’ was the main category exerting downward
pressure on consumer prices during the month. Although rising fuel
prices have been a major contributor to the upwards trend in this
category during most of the year, for the month of November 2018
these were offset by a significant decline in international airfares.
Nonetheless, within the ‘Fuels and Lubricants’ sub-category, the price
per gallon of Diesel went up by 16.5 percent from $9.61 in November
2017 to $11.20 in November 2018, while Regular gasoline rose by 5.4
percent from $10.23 to $10.78. Premium gasoline, on the other hand,
fell by 3.4 percent from $12.02 in November of last year to $11.62 in
November of 2018 (see Table 1). Also contributing to the overall decline
in prices within this category was the cost of new motor vehicles which
was down by 4.9 percent when compared to November 2017.
FOOD & NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES and ALCOHOLIC
BEVERAGES: A small overall decline
of 0.6 percent was seen in the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’
category, when compared to November 2017. Lower prices were
recorded for several meat products, such as beef steak and ground
beef, along with some vegetable and fruit items, including red kidney
beans, sweet peppers, potatoes and limes. These decreases were,
however, mostly offset by increased prices in various other food items,
such as pork chops, pig tails, pineapples, cabbages and watermelons
(see Table 1).
ALL OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES: Across all the remaining
categories of goods and services,
prices increased on average
by 0.9 percent in November
2018 compared to November
2017. This was due mainly to
an increase of 4.2 percent in
the ‘Health’ category, which
saw higher prices for doctor
consultations, surgery fees and
pharmaceutical products during
INFLATION RATES BY
MUNICIPALITIES: With an
inflation rate of 1.9 percent,
Punta Gorda Town experienced
the highest rate of increase in
consumer prices in November
2018. Consumers in this town
saw above average increases
in doctor consultation fees,
fuel and lubricant prices, and
home rental costs. Meanwhile,
Dangriga Town experienced the
lowest inflation rate, with prices
going down by 2.2 percent, as
consumers in this town saw food
prices go down by slightly more
than the national average and
a decline in home rental costs
compared to November of last
year (see Figure 3).
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS UP 7.2%, DOMESTIC EXPORTS UP 26.2% IN NOVEMBER 2018
SEPTEMBER 2018: During the month of November 2018,
Belize’s imported goods were valued at $165.6 million, up 7.2
percent or $11.1 million from the $154.5 million imported in
November of 2017.
A substantial growth in the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’
category was the primary contributor to increased imports
for the month. $13.1 million in November 2017 to $21.7 million
in November 2018, mainly due to the fact that there was a
sizeable purchase of diesel fuel made during the month, while
there was none imported in November of last year. Goods
destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and ‘Manufactured
Goods’ also rose markedly in the eleventh month of this
year. Imports into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ went up by
$5.3 million, from $30.2 million to $35.5 million, due largely
to higher purchases of cigarettes, footwear and clothing,
while heightened imports of galvanized and galvalume steel
coils, along with ceramic tiles drove imports of ‘Manufactured
Goods’ up by $2.7 million, from $20.2 million to $22.9 million.
However, in spite of the overall increase in imports for the
month, minor decreases were noted within the commodity
categories of ‘Other Manufactures’, ‘Chemical Products’
and ‘Food and Live Animals’. Smaller imports of metal office
furniture, adhesive labels and prefabricated steel buildings led
to a reduction in the ‘Other Manufactures’ category from $14.2
million in November of last year to $12.5 million in November
2018, while decreased purchases of fertilizers, herbicides and
insecticides resulted in a $1.4 million drop in the importation
of ‘Chemical Products’, from $14.7 million to $13.3 million.
Less was also spent on food imports in November 2018 as
compared to November 2017, and as a result the ‘Food and
Live Animals’ category declined by $1.4 million, from $18.6
million to $17.2 million.
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 ELEVEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise
imports for the period January to November 2018 totalled $1.8
billion, representing a 5.9 percent or $98.1 million increase
from the same eleven-month period last year.
Of all commodity categories, imports of ‘Mineral Fuels and
Lubricants’, ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ and items
meant for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ recorded the most
significant increases over the period, resulting in a combined
growth of more than $100 million compared to the first eleven
months of 2017. The ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category,
which saw the greatest increase of the three, rose by $55.6
million from $199.8 million in 2017 to $255.4 million in 2018,
owing to the higher cost of fuel on the world market. Imports
of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ went up from $339.1
million to $363.5 million, as the country imported more vehicles, telecommunications equipment and aviation equipment in January
to November of 2018 than it did during that same period last year. Imports into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’, grew from $276.5
million in 2017 to $297.2 million in 2018, which was mostly due to larger purchases of bags, clothing and cigarettes.
These considerable increases were partially offset by some notable decreases within the categories of ‘Other Manufactures’ and
‘Crude Materials’ during the month. Reduced imports of laboratory plastics, prefabricated steel buildings and medical equipment,
drove the ‘Other Manufactures’ category down by $11.4 million over the period, falling from $150.2 million in November 2017 to
$138.8 million in November 2018, while fewer imports of utility poles, pasture seeds and asphalt, gave rise to a $5.4 million drop in
the category of ‘Crude Materials’, which fell from $32.1 million to $26.7 million compared to the same period last year.
SEPTEMBER 2018: The total value of Belize’s domestic exports for the month of November 2018 was $21.3 million, up 26.2 percent
or $4.4 million from the $16.9 million recorded for November of 2017.
Greater export revenues from both sugar and bananas was the main driver of this growth in imports for the month. Having had only
negligible sales in November of last year, earnings from sugar rose sharply by just under $2 million to $2.1 million in November of
this year, while exports of bananas rose from a little over $5 million to $6.1 million compared to November of 2017. Export earnings
from marine products went up slightly by almost $0.5 million, from $5.2 million to $5.7 million, as conch sales doubled for the month
and effectively offset a decrease in exports of other products within the marine category. Additionally, red kidney beans, while not
classified as a major commodity, measurably impacted the overall growth in exports for the month. Sales of that product amounted
to more than $0.6 million in November 2018, while there were no exports recorded for that commodity in November of 2017. Exports
of citrus products, on the other hand, declined marginally, from $3.2 million to just above $3.0 million, with drops in the exportation
of grapefruit concentrate and citrus pulp cells being recorded.
For the month of November 2018, export earnings from CARICOM rose by $1.5 million, from $3.7 million to $5.2 million, which was
mostly attributed to sales of sugar and red kidney beans to that region. Revenues from the United Kingdom increased by $1.2 million
compared to last November, from almost $4 million to $5.2 million, the result of boosted sugar exports to that country.
FIRST ELEVEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the period January to November 2018 totalled $376.5 million,
down 12.4 percent or $53.4 million from that same period last year.
Sugar, citrus products, and bananas all saw declining export earnings over the eleven-month period. Despite there being virtually
no change in the volumes of sugar exported, revenues from that commodity plunged by 26.4 percent or $36.3 million, from $147.8
million in 2017 to $111.5 million in 2018, as diminished prices on the European market severely impacted earnings. Revenues from
citrus products fell by 10.2 percent, from $78.4 million to just over $70 million, owing mostly to decreased sales of both orange oil
and orange concentrate, while revenues from banana exports dropped by 5.6 percent or $4.2 million, from $75.5 million in 2017
to $71.3 million in 2018. Notwithstanding the downturn in total export earnings over the period, gains were noted for both crude
petroleum and marine products. Crude petroleum saw an 8.4 percent revenue increase, from $22.7 million in 2017 to $24.6 million in
2018, despite a significant drop in exported volumes, as that product continued to benefit from higher world market prices. Sales of
marine products rose slightly from $36.9 million to $37.5 million, as a sharp increase in earnings from conch, which grew by almost
three-fourths, counterbalanced a steep decline in shrimp exports over the period.
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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)