The Statistical Institute of Belize's released its monthly Consumer Price Index today for the month of April and the news is not all that good. The survey shows that the All-items CPI stood at 104.9, an increase of 0.2 percent from 104.7 in April 2018.
The 'Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages' category recorded an overall increase of 0.4 percent in April 2019, when compared to April of last year. Higher prices were observed for several items including beef steak, whole chicken, rice, and eggs, as well as various fruits and vegetables such as pineapples, watermelons, sweet peppers, onions, tomatoes and cabbages. These increases were, however, partly offset by decreased prices for ground beef, pork chops, natural milk, red kidney beans, and limes.
As for the Transport category, this service saw an overall increase of 0.1 percent for the month of April 2019 (see Figure 2). This was mainly due to higher prices for the servicing of motor vehicles, which were up by 3.4 percent compared to April of last year, coupled with a 0.8 percent increase in international airfares.
At the pump, the average price per gallon of Premium gasoline went down by 5 percent when compared to April 2019, regular gasoline went up slightly by 0.1 percent and Diesel prices rose by 0.1 percent.
Prices across the other categories of Goods and Services' saw a 0.7 percent increase on average during the month of April 2019. Higher school fees, particularly for secondary and tertiary level institutions, motor vehicle insurance and health insurance premiums, and entrance fees to sporting events all contributed to the overall increase among these categories for the month.
For the month of April 2019, the 'Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels' category saw a decrease of 0.7 percent when compared to the same month in 2018. This was mostly due to a one percent decrease in home rental costs, as lower prices were recorded in Belmopan, Belize City and Dangriga Town. A small decline was also noted in the cost of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) for the month, with the average cost of a 100-pound cylinder of LPG falling by 0.2 percent.
These decreases were able to overshadow a rise in electricity prices, which were up by 11.9 percent in comparison to April 2018, as a result of rate increases that went into effect in July 2018 and January 2019.