SIBToday the Statistical Institute of Belize issued its figures for the month of May 2019. We first take a look at consumer price index where the report shows that prices remained relatively unchanged when compared to the month of May 2018 as it stood 104.7, in both May 2018 and May 2019.

For the first five months of the year 2019, an inflation rate of 0.1 percent was recorded across the country.

The ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category saw an overall increase of 0.5 percent during the month of May 2019, due to a noticeable rise in the average prices of several meat products. Additionally, higher prices for several fruits and vegetables, including pineapple, watermelon, cabbage, sweet pepper, and lettuce, contributed to the overall rise in this category (Put CPI Table 1). Prices within the ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ sub-category were also up in comparison to May 2018, due to higher soft drink and juice concentrate prices.

The ‘Transport’ category recorded a 1 percent decrease for the month of May 2019, mainly due to a 5.9 percent drop in international airfares and a 0.7 percent decrease in the ‘Fuels and Lubricants’ sub-category. At the pump, the price per gallon of Premium gasoline fell 0.6 percent, Regular gasoline fell 0.5 percent while the price per gallon of Diesel fell by a marginal 0.2 percent.

For the month of May 2019, the remaining categories of goods and services saw prices rise by an average of 0.6 percent, offsetting much of the price reductions recorded across the other major categories during the month. Increases in tertiary education fees, health insurance premiums, motor vehicle insurance premiums, entrance fees to sporting events and higher beer prices all contributed to the overall rise in prices for this category.

Across all municipalities, Punta Gorda recorded the highest increase in consumer prices for the month with an inflation rate of 3.2 percent, as consumers in that municipality saw an above average increase in “‘Food and Non- Alcoholic Beverages’, home rental costs and admission fees to sporting events. Inflation rates for the Orange Walk District stood at 1.6 percent for the month of May while Corozal recorded a decrease of 0.6 during the month.

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