Belize’s Export Revenues Decline, Imports Rise, and Cost of Living Increases
The Statistical Institute of Belize says that export revenues are down while import expenses and the cost of living are up. The SIB released its latest External Trade Bulletin and Consumer Price Index this week, which covers the first nine months of the year. The data shows that for the period January to September 2023, import expenditures totaled over one point nine billion. This represents a point one percent increase or one point seven million dollars over the same period last year. Meanwhile, export revenues for the nine-month period totaled just over three hundred thirty to million, a drop of over sixteen percent or sixty-six million dollars. Belizeans paid over four percent more for goods and services from January to September this year than they did for the same period back in 2022. The latest Consumer Price Index issued by the SIB said that the cumulative inflation rate for the first nine months of the year stood at four and a half percent with “Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages” again being the leading category. This category was up by over 13 percent driven primarily by higher prices for all types of food products. The items which recorded the highest price increases in the month of September included cilantro which was up over 93 percent from eight dollars and twenty-seven cents last year to sixteen dollars and seven cents. Plantains were up sixty-four percent at fifty-six cents per unit over the thirty-three cents paid last year. Evaporated milk was also up by forty-five percent from two dollars and seventeen cents to three dollars and fifteen cents. The rising cost of food items was also linked to higher prices in the ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ and the Recreation, Sport and Culture’ categories. The SIB said that there was a 1.6 percent decrease in the Transport Category due to lower gas prices when compared to last year. ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ was down by less than one percent due to price decreases for butane.