General — 02 October 2015

BELMOPAN, Thurs. Oct. 1, 2015–Consumer prices were down substantially for the first 8 months of 2015, according to the latest report released by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), which reports an inflation rate of negative 0.9%, contrasting with the hike in inflation of 1.4% for the first 8 months of 2014.

       Last August recorded an inflation rate of 0.9%, but the SIB says that during the month of August 2015, prices of goods and services purchased by Belizean households were, on average, 0.6 percent lower than in August 2014.

       This, it said, was attributable to decreases in the cost of fuel at the pumps and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), which offset increases in the cost of some food items and home rentals.

       “All three types of fuel saw a considerable drop in prices compared to August 2014, with premium and regular gasoline down by about 19 percent and 22 percent, respectively, while diesel prices fell sharply by 28 percent. The decline in fuel prices was the major contributing factor to a 6.3 percent decrease in the ‘Transport’ index,” the SIB explained.

       It added that increases were observed in the prices of beef, pork, and eggs. These were offset by lower prices for red kidney beans, cooking oil and shortening.

       While nationally, the inflation rate was negative – meaning that consumer prices were down overall in Belize – this was not the case in Dangriga and Punta Gorda, where prices were up for August by 1.9% and 0.9%, respectively.

       “The marked difference between these and the other municipalities was due to the fact that these two locations saw the highest increases in home rental prices during the month, while little or no increase in rentals was recorded in other municipalities. Orange Walk Town saw virtually no change in prices, on average,” the SIB said.

       The SIB elaborated, saying that although home rental prices were up by only 0.6 percent on average, there were pronounced increases in the southern municipalities of Dangriga and Punta Gorda Town, where rental costs rose by 2.7 percent in both places.

       The SIB notes, though, that the escalation in the cost of rent was offset by a plunge in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), down from $117 for the 100-pound cylinder in August 2014 to $90 in this August.

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