By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The cost of living in Belize closed off 2015 being lower than it was the year before, according to the latest data from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB).
On Wednesday, the SIB released the “December 2015 Consumer Price Index”, which measures the change in prices for various goods and services in Belize.
The data showed that for December 2015, average costs were 0.7 percent (70 cents) lower than they were in 2014. The SIB attributed the decline to lower fuel, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), and electricity costs.
“Within the category of “Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels” an increase of 2.2 percent in home rental prices overshadowed a 20 percent decline in electricity rates and a steep drop in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas,” the SIB said.
The average price for a 100 pound cylinder fell from $109.26 in December 2014 to $83.88 in December 2015, a decline of 23 percent. During the same period, the average price per gallon of all three types of fuels remained lower than they were in December 2014.
The price of premium gasoline was down by around 10 percent, while regular gasoline was 16 percent lower. Diesel fuel was more than 24 percent lower than it was in the same month of 2014.
Food prices, on average, showed no change when compared to December 2014, with the exception of the prices for all types of meats. Lower prices for Red Kidney Beans and various fresh vegetables, including carrots and onions, offset the heightening meat prices.
All municipalities, with the exception of Dangriga and Punta Gorda Town, recorded price decreases. PG and Dangriga had inflation rates of 1.0 and 2.7 percent respectively. Home rental prices and food prices were among the highest in these areas.
Alternately, the largest decline was recorded in Belmopan, which had an inflation rate of -2.9 percent, largely due to lower prices recorded for food and home rental costs.