Cost of Living Rises: Belize Sees 3.4% Increase in Prices

Cost of Living Rises: Belize Sees 3.4% Increase in Prices

The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) is reporting that the cost of goods and services during the month of March was higher than it was last year. According to the SIB’s latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), prices were an average of 3.4 percent higher when compared to March 2023. The CPI, which measures the rate at which prices change, showed price increases across most categories such as Restaurants and Accommodation Services; Health; Recreation, Sport, and Culture. Jacqueline Sabal, Acting Statistician I with the SIB explained that, since last year, the cost of food has been the main driver of inflation.

Jacqueline Sabal, Acting Statistician I, Statistical Institute of Belize: “For the month of March which was the most recent indicator that we released we noticed that the inflation rate for the month of March was at 3.4%. Meaning that overall prices were 3.4% higher than they were in March 2023 so we’re comparing that March 2024 to March 2023 and prices were 3.4% higher. Now what contributed to this which is a trend that we saw in 2023 and it has continued into early 2024 where we are now that prices were mainly impacted by higher food costs. So food was the main contributor to the increase in the inflation rate. Apart from food we saw increases in restaurant services and we saw increases in home rental costs so those three main ones, food, restaurant services, home rental those were the big ticket items that moved the overall inflation rate.”

In January, consumer prices were 4.3 percent higher. They were slightly lower in February at 3.9 percent. Sabal says that the downward trend could mean that prices will begin to stabilize soon.

Jacqueline Sabal, Acting Statistician I, Statistical Institute of Belize: “We saw increases in vegetables, dairy products, sugar, fresh fruit items. There were also increases again in restaurant and accommodation service and then we saw housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels category that went up as well because of higher home rental costs. So for the year to date it followed the same trend almost as the March year on year. What we have observed is that yes food is the main contributor but what we have observed is that the increase in food prices is slowing down. So yes prices are higher than they were in March but the rate at which it is increasing is slowing down. So it continues to follow this trend what we think we will see is some type of stabilization or normalization in some of the items within that food subcategory. So again as much as food is that main driver the increases are slowing down.”

The food items that saw the highest price increase were black beans, which was up by thirty percent from two dollars and three cents to two dollars and sixty-three cents; and plantin which went up by twenty-five percent from forty-three cents a unit to fifty-four cents a unit. Several food items did see a decrease in price, such as lime, cucumber, and sweet pepper.

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