Economy Features — 23 December 2014 — by Adele Ramos
Inflation drops with price ease at the pumps

BELIZE CITY–A plunge in pump prices due to falling world market prices for crude, as well as an ease in food costs, have led to only marginal inflation of 0.2% for November 2014, according to data just released by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). These declines helped to offset rising prices for rent, insurance and medical services.

This means that up to November 2014, overall inflation, tallying data for the first 11 months of the year (January to November) now registers at 1.2%.

“The effects of falling global oil prices were evident in the category of transport, with the average price per gallon of diesel dropping by over 12 percent from $10.65 last November to $9.37 this month,” the SIB noted, adding that international airfares also fell considerably, by 17%.

Meanwhile, “Food prices were down by 1.2 percent on average with items such as eggs, fresh vegetables and red kidney beans recording lower prices for the month,” the SIB said.

Home rental prices, on the other hand, are up 1.5% over last November.

November-2014-Inflation

“Higher prices were recorded in several of the municipalities for various medical services, including consultation fees, lab fees, hospital accommodation, and x-rays,” the SIB also noted.

“Increases were also recorded in both health and motor vehicle insurance premiums,” the institute added.

The SIB also shared the latest external trade data. It reported that the country’s import bill for January to November 2014 was $1.8 billion – an increase of 7.1% over the same time last year. In November alone, Belize’s import bill rose 27.7%, an expansion from $143.5 million to $183.3.

Meanwhile, the growth in imports lagged far behind, with import earnings down by 8.7%.

According to the SIB, goods exported during the period from January to November 2014 were valued at $574.3 million. This was almost $55 million lower than in the same period last year, when total exports were $629.2 million.

“Higher imports were recorded across most categories of goods, with major increases being recorded in the purchases of motor vehicles for the transportation of goods, four-cylinder vehicles for personal transport, diesel, and goods going to Export Processing Zones,” the SIB said.

The SIB added that “crude petroleum continued to record the greatest losses, with sales of this product down by over $44 million from $140.2 million to $95.6 million.”

Earnings from the exportation of citrus concentrate declined by $14 million over the eleven months, from $102.4 million to $88.4 million; while the sale of marine products grew by $5.5 million and revenue from bananas and sugar each grew by $2.8 million when compared to the same period in 2013.

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