Cost of living gone up, says SIB
December 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm
By William Ysaguirre
The cost of living in Belize has gone up 0.8 percent compared to last year this time, according to the latest Consumer Price Index of 102.8 for September, published by the Statistical Institute of Belize on Tuesday, December 17.
That’s because the cost of most food staples have gone up.
The possible exceptions are sugar, whole chicken and oranges, which have shown only minuscule reductions in price. Ground beef which used to be $4.14/lb is now $5.23, while a pound of steak that used to be $5.96 is now $6.86.
Rice that was $1.39/lb is now $1.50, while flour that was $1.02 is now $1.14. Red kidney beans have gone from $1.77 to $2 per pound, while a dozen eggs is now $3.69, compared to $3.09 a year ago.
A can of condensed milk has gone from $2.30 to $2.39 and a liter of milk has risen from $2.90 to $3.17. Local onions have gone from $1.69 to $1.90/lb, while sweet peppers are $4.24, up from $3.65 and carrots have gone up five cents per pound.
A good part of this increase is the overall increase in the price of fuel. Premium gasoline has come done in price but regular gasoline and diesel, used by goods trucks and buses, have gone up; as has the price of cooking gas; from $108.55 to $115.30 for a 100lb cylinder.
This filters down to price increases in transportation, housing, water, and electricity, food and non-alcoholic beverages. Fortunately prices fell on clothing and shoes, particularly women’s and children’s clothing.
Insurance companies cut the cost of their premiums for both health insurance and vehicles, as consumer demand has been slow.
Inflation fell to a mere 0.3 percent for the first nine months of 2013.
The transportation index went up, mainly because of higher international airfares. Clothing and Footwear prices declined by just under 3 percent, reflecting lower prices for and footwear. Both health and motor vehicle insurance costs declined.
The institute surveyed six municipalities and Belmopan showed the highest rate of inflation, up 2.5 percent, while San Ignacio was down 0.5 percent.
Orange Walk Town also showed a decline in inflation rate down 0.7 percent. The Reporter
_____________________________________________________________Belize economy growing at less than 1%
— 20 December 2013 — by Adele Ramos
Belize economy growing at less than 1%
The Belize economy has been growing only moderately for 2013, according to data just released today by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB).
It reported that “…in July through September this year, the economy expanded by 0.3 percent when compared to the same period of 2012. This puts the cumulative economic growth for the first nine months of this year at 0.4 percent.”
Low performance in two important sectors—agriculture and oil—largely accounted for the near freeze in Belize’s economic growth.
“In the agriculture sector, banana production, in particular, fell by 6 percent, offsetting gains in livestock and poultry production. Oil production, meanwhile, fell to its lowest third quarter level since 2009, and it appears that it will continue to trend downwards for the foreseeable future,” said the report.
There was good news about the performance of the electricity and water sector. The SIB said that it stood out as the best performer, rebounding by 20 percent after four consecutive quarters of double-digit decline.
Meanwhile, it reported that the hotels and restaurants sector grew by more than 7 percent, making it the second largest contributor to the economic expansion.
“This performance was buttressed by an increase in overnight tourist visitors and a partial recovery in cruise arrivals,” said the report.
Last year, cruise arrivals sank to the lowest third quarter level since 2008. Government services expanded by 4.4 percent—double the growth of wholesale and retail distribution and one and a half times that of construction, the SIB said.
Rising imports of cheaper Mexican flour contrasted sharply with a decline in Belizean flour production.
The SIB noted that, up to September, imports from Mexico were more than ten times higher than in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, inflation is up – with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for September 2013 standing at 102.8 – or 0.8% higher than in the same month last year.
“This was attributed to price increases in the categories of transport (up by 4.0 percent); housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (up by 0.8 percent); and food and non-alcoholic beverages (up by 1.9 percent), which were offset by lower clothing and footwear prices and insurance premiums,” the SIB said.
Of note is that the first nine months of 2013 recorded 0.3% inflation.
Food prices were up by 2.3% – with the most notable changes being in the price of beef, rice and vegetables, the SIB said.
The SIB reported that the highest rate of inflation was seen in Belmopan (up by 2.5 percent), and the lowest in San Ignacio (up by 0.5 percent).
Interestingly, negative inflation – a decline in prices by about 0.7% – was recorded in Orange Walk Town. Amandala