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Jun 27, 2018

The Cost of Living – SIB Presents Latest Report

Latest statistics show a mixed bag in the cost of living. Prices for goods and services went up slightly in May of this year when compared to the same period last year.  Consumers also felt a pinch in their pockets due to transportation costs which resulted from a rise in prices for fuels and lubricants. But consumers paid less for meats, some fruits and vegetables. Today, the Statistical Institute of Belize released the latest consumer price index, gross domestic product and external trade bulletins which delve into economic activities in Belize in May 2018 when compared to May of 2017. News Five’s Andrea Polanco shares some of the highlights of the statistical report in the following story.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

For the first quarter of 2018, Belize produced goods and services of seven hundred and fifty six point nine million dollars – increasing by one point eight percent or thirteen point one million dollars over the same period of last year. According to the SIB, the GDP has been steadily increasing over the years. The primary industry saw a decrease in economic activity of almost twelve percent or close to eleven million dollars, most notably in agriculture and fisheries sectors.

 

Angelita Campbell

Angelita Campbell, Statistician II, SIB

“Within this sector we have agriculture and hunting going down by eight point two percent or six point seven million dollars. We see the sugarcane production going down by four point six percent as a result of factory downtime, while we have citrus and banana going down by nineteen point three percent and nineteen point five percent, respectively. Contrary to that we have livestock going up by three point nine percent. Fishing also went down by forty-four point three percent or four point two million and this is seen in two hundred and ninety thousand less pounds of shrimp being exported, ninety thousand less pounds of conch being exported and a hundred thousand less in pounds of whole fish being exported. The orange fruit delivered decreased by roughly twenty-one percent or sixteen point seven thousand metric tons from seventy-nine point two thousand metric tons to sixty-two point five thousand metric tons and this was due to ageing fruit trees, citrus greening and loss of farms in the months of January and February.”

 

The secondary industry also experienced a marginal decrease in production of about two hundred thousand dollars, largely due to mining and manufacturing which was recorded in sugarcane production. The tertiary industry, of tourism, communication, transport and other Government services, however, saw remarkable growth of about twenty million dollars or just over four and a half percent. And how much did Belizeans pay for these goods and services? According to the S.I.B, the prices went up marginally.

 

Jacqueline Sabal

Jacqueline Sabal, Statistician II, SIB

“The consumer price index for May 2018 stood at one hundred four point seven and the inflation rate for the month of May stood at zero point three percent; meaning that on average prices were zero point three percent higher than they were in May 2017. Looking at the inflation rate for the first five months of the year, it stood at negative zero point one percent.  For food and non-alcoholic beverages, food prices recorded a decrease in the inflation rate at zero point four percent, while non-alcoholic beverages saw a two point five percent decrease in the inflation rate. While at the product level, we observed a decrease in the average price of certain meats, fruits and vegetables.  Within the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels category, home rental prices fell by zero point four percent, however, not enough to offset the fifteen point five percent rise in LPG prices, which aided in the overall increase in this category.”

 

For the external trade bulletin, imports are up by three point one percent or and exports are down by twenty point two percent for May 2018. The increase in imports is largely due to the higher world market prices for fuel and significant losses in export earnings from sugar resulted in the primary cause of decrease in exports.

 

Tiffany Vasquez

Tiffany Vasquez, Statistician II, SIB

“This overall increase for the first five months of the year was due to the fact the country spent more on minerals, fuels, lubricants, machinery and transport equipment and goods destined for the commercial free zones and export processing zones. However, this period also saw a decrease imports particularly in the purchases of manufactured goods and other manufactures, crude materials and chemical products. Belize’s total domestic exports were valued at one hundred and ninety point six million dollars. This was a decrease of nineteen point eight percent or almost forty-seven million when compared to the two hundred and thirty-seven million dollars worth of goods exported from January to May of last year. This overall decline was the outcome of diminished earnings from most of Belize’s major exports, with crude petroleum being the only major commodity to have recorded an increase over the five month period.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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