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Food prices go up

The cost of food went up in March and so did airfare and butane gas according to the Statistical Institute of Belize. In its most recent report, it states that regularly purchased goods and services are up by 0.3 percent in March when compared to the same month last year.  The high prices offset a reported drop in rental costs. For the first three months of 2019, the cumulative inflation rate stands at 0.1 percent compared to the same period last year. Moving on to transport, the overall prices went up by 0.4 percent for March due largely to increase in fuel prices. In the category of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, there was a decrease of 0.4 percent when compared to the same month last year. By municipalities, Punta Gorda Town saw the highest inflation of 3.3 percent in March. The SIB reports that residents here saw above average increases in prices for food items, doctor consultation fees, hospital accommodation fees and home rental costs. Meanwhile, Dangriga saw prices going down by 5.9 percent for the same month due largely to lower home rental costs.///////////////The Statistical Institute of Belize is reporting that imports are down 1.2 percent or $1.7 million when compared to the same month last year. Merchandise imports for the period  January to March 2019 totaled just above $455 million, representing a 5.9 percent or $25.2 million increase from the same three-month period last year. Belize’s domestic exports for the month of March 2019 were also down. The SIB reports it was down 54.4 percent or $30.8 million from the $56.6 million recorded for March of 2018. The substantial decline in export was due for the most part to significant reductions in exported quantities of sugar. Exports of orange concentrate for the month also decreased. Exports for the period January to March 2019 totaled $90.9 million, down 12.9 percent or $13.5 million from that same period last year.