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Consumer prices up for the month of April

GeneralConsumer prices up for the month of April

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 1, 2023

According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, the national inflation rate in April 2023 was 4.6%, down from 8.9% recorded in April 2022. The All-Items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 113.9, marking the lowest rate since 2021. The ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category continued to be the significant contributor to inflation, representing approximately three-quarters of the national inflation rate.

‘Transport’, typically a great contributor to consumer prices, had minimal impact due to slightly lower fuel prices.

Food prices rose considerably, with the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category seeing a 12.7% increase over the same period in 2022. Almost all food items witnessed an increase, including cereal products (18.8%), dairy products (24.9%), meat (8.3%), cooking oils (26.4%), fresh fruits (11.8%), and vegetables (9.9%).

‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ saw a 10.4% increase due to a continued rise in restaurant services and hotel rates. The ‘Recreation, Sport, and Culture’ category rose by 9.3%, mainly due to higher pet food prices and cinema and nightclub admission fees. Meanwhile, the ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance’ category and the ‘Personal Care, Social Protection, and Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ category saw rises of 4.8% and 3%, respectively.

However, some categories saw decreases. The ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category experienced a decrease of 1.6% due to reduced liquified petroleum gas (LPG) prices. Prices in the ‘Information and Communication’ category also declined by 1.6% as a result of cheaper internet provision services.

Among municipalities, San Ignacio/Santa Elena recorded the highest inflation rate at 7.3%, primarily due to increases in various food items, taxi fares, restaurant services, pet food, laundry products, soaps, detergents, clothing, and personal hygiene products. Corozal Town had the lowest inflation rate at 2.5%.

Consumer prices declined between March and April 2023 by 0.4%, with the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category seeing a 1.4% decrease. A small 0.3% rise in ‘Transport’ due to a slight increase in regular gasoline prices was offset by these decreases.

For the cumulative inflation rate in the first four months of 2023, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ was the primary contributor with a 14.7% increase. The ‘Transport’ category recorded a year-to-date inflation rate of 4.9%, and ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ experienced an increase of 9.8%. In contrast, the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category decreased by 0.6%, and the ‘Information and Communication’ category saw a 2% decline.

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