By Benjamin Flowers
From January to November, the average prices for goods and services in Belize were lower than they were when compared to the same period in 2014, according to data compiled from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB).
The SIB’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, which measures the fluctuation price in goods and services, showed that from January to November the country’s inflation rate was at 0.9. The figure suggests that, on average, commodities were around 90 cents cheaper than they were in the previous year.
Several categories in the CPI showed considerable price decreases, while others showed trending price hikes.
The transport sector saw the highest decreases all year, due to falling world prices in oil and fuel. Fuel prices ranged between 25-27 percent lower than they were last year, causing the transport sector an average decrease of 7.28; peaking at 9.6 in November, and reaching its lowest at 6.2 in March.
Prices in the “Food and non Alcoholic Beverages” sector went down an average of 0.46; the highest decrease coming in at 1.9 in January, and its lowest in August at 0.2.
The “Housing, Water, Gas, Electricity and other Fuels” category went down by 0.15, seeing its highest (0.9) in January, and lowest (-0.7) in March.
The “All other Goods and Services” category decreased by 0.75, with 1.2 being the highest in January. The lowest came in March and April at 0.5.
Specific food items had notable price fluctuations throughout the year; particularly meats. The average price per pound for ground beef started at $5.15 in January, and was recorded at $6.40 by November.
Similarly, pork chops started at $6.83 and went up to $7.12. Pigtails were not exempt from the price increases, climbing from $3.76 to $4.27.Canned goods such as Del Monte Mixed Vegetables went up, starting at $1.81 in January and rising to $2.43 in November.
Notable decreases included Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), which fell from $105 at the onset of 2015, to $84 by November. Red kidney beans also had one of the largest decreases, falling from $1.99 to $1.56 over the reference period. A liter of “La La Milk,” went down by 41 cents, from $3.81 to $2.89.
By municipality, Belmopan averaged the highest price increases for the reference period (-1.75), followed by Belize City with -1.30, and San Ignaco/Santa Elena with -1.15. Corozal’s prices went down by -0.66, and in Punta Gorda, prices went down by -0.24.
In the two municipalities which actually showed price increases Dangriga had the highest (1.14). Orange walk’s price hikes averaged at 0.71.
The SIB’s December data will be published in January 2016.