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Sep 27, 2018

August Was 1% More Expensive

The cost of living went up in the month of August. Data from the Statistical Institute of Belize shows that the cost of living inched up by one percent due to the hike in the price of fuel. The prices for food items and non-alcoholic beverages, however, went down. The S.I.B. also reports that imports went up at the Commercial Free Zones by twelve million dollars. News Five Hipolito Novelo breaks down the numbers.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Common goods and services were one percent more expensive in August when compared to the same period in 2017. In order words, the cost of living increased by one percent last month. Latest figures from the Statistical Institute of Belize indicate that the increase in Consumer Price Index was mainly due to increases in the ‘Transport Category’ which saw an overall increase of two point seven percent caused by increased fuel prices, international airfares and the cost to repair and maintain vehicles.  Cost for food and non-alcoholic beverages was down in August by zero point six percent, mainly due to the decrease in the prices of food, specifically meat products, fruits, and vegetables. An inflation rate of zero point two percent was recorded for the first eight months of 2018.  According to the SIB, the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena recorded the highest inflation rate of two point nine percent making it the most expensive municipality in August. The increase was mainly to home rental cost. Dangriga, on the other hand, recorded the lowest inflation rate of negative two percent making it the least expensive municipality for the month of August.

Also in August, imports increased by twenty-four million dollars to one hundred and seventy-two point five million. The SIB noted that goods destined for the Commercial Free Zones were valued at twenty-nine million dollars, a significant increase of twelve million dollars. During August cigarettes destined for the Commercial Free Zones doubled. Imports of cigarettes, beer and other alcoholic beverages spiked by one point eight million dollars to three point three million dollars in August, presumably in preparation for the September Celebrations. For the first eight months of the year, Belize imported one point three billion dollars worth of merchandise. Exports in August stood at twenty-two point nine million dollars, a slight increase of one point one percent when compared to August 2017. Revenues from exports of bananas fell, declining minimally from just over zero point five million dollars. Exports of Marine products such as lobster tails and shrimps grew by a little over half a million dollars. Earnings from citrus products grew by over six hundred thousand dollars. Exports of molasses and red kidney beans saw noticeable increases. For the first eight months of 2018, Belize exported a total of two hundred and eighty-one point eight million dollars worth of merchandise, a decrease of more than forty-five million dollars. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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