Cost of living up by 1 percent at end of 2017

By Benjamin Flowers

Belizeans experienced 12 straight months of elevated cost of living in 2017, according to the latest data released by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB).

The latest Consumer Price Index, released on Wednesday, January 31, showed that Belizeans paid a total average of 1.1 percent more for goods and services in 2017 than they did in 2016. Inflation was highest in the months of February and March at 2.3 percent, and was at its lowest in June and August at 0.6 percent. The year closed out with a 1 percent increase in December.

During December 2017, the ‘Transport’ category were the single greatest contributor to the overall increase, recording a total increase of 6.2 percent over 2016. Within ‘Transport’ the ‘Fuels and Lubricants’ sub-category, which monitors the change in gas prices, went up by 5.7 percent.

“The price per gallon of Premium gasoline rose 11.8 percent from $10.18 in December 2016 to $11.38 in the same month of 2017, while Regular gasoline rose 13 percent from $9.25 to $10.45, and the price per gallon of Diesel was up 8.8 percent from $8.84 to $9.62,” the SIB said.

A 33 percent increase in the price of international airfares and a 4.5 percent increase in the price of local bus fare also helped to push prices up n the ‘Transport’ index.

Both the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ and the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ categories recorded marginal changes, going up by 0.9 percent and 0.1 percent respectively. By municipality, Punta Gorda Town say the highest increase in prices for December 2017, recording a 1.8 percent increase, while Belmopan recorded the lowest, 0.1 percent.

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