SIB Data Reveals Price Changes in Food Items, Commodities, and Inflation Rate

SIB Data Reveals Price Changes in Food Items, Commodities, and Inflation Rate

In a recent set of data released from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) it shows that several food items and commodities have seen a reduction in prices when the costs in February of this year is compared February 2023.  On that list are flour, lime, cucumber, sweet pepper, soy sauce, premium gasoline, and butane.  For example, in February 2023, one hundred pounds of butane was $126.06; this year, the price is $120.74.  In February 2023, one gallon of premium fuel was $14.24; this year, the price was $13.48.  There were several items, however, that have seen a stark increase.  Powdered milk is one item that was priced at $8.20 for a 360-gram container, last year February.  One year later, powdered milk was priced at $10.27.  In further analysis, the SIB noted that the country’s inflation rate for both January and February 2024 was measured at four-point-one percent. In its press conference today, SIB presented an assessment of the country’s economic performance and its effects on consumers. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is one measurement used to record the changes in prices over specific periods.  Statistician Melvin Perez explained that food and non-alcoholic beverages saw the highest increase while the other sectors increased by an average of 5%. 

Melvin Perez, Statistician: “First, we have the food and non-alcoholic beverages category with prices increasing by 7.5%. And I must mention that this was the main contributor to the overall increase. It was followed by the restaurant and accommodation services with prices increasing by 12.6%. Then we had the housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuel with prices increasing by 2.1%. Now looking at the last category in our list, we have the transport category which recorded a decrease of 1.8%. So now that we have identified the major categories affecting the cumulative inflation rate, now we will break down each one of them to see what contributed to the increase or decrease within the category. All right, so first let’s look at the food and non-alcoholic beverages category with prices increasing by 7.5%. The food subcategory alone was the main contributor in the category increasing as prices rose across all type of food items such as cereal products, fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, and cooking oil. Looking at the table we can see that most of the items went up by almost more than 10% specifically natural milk, evaporated milk, powdered milk, orange, celery, cilantro, onion, green corn, sweet potatoes, cassava, plantain, black beans, and sugar. Nonetheless, there were lower prices recorded for some items, such as flour, lime, cucumber, and sweet pepper.”

Perez went on to explain that over the past four years, prices have been steadily increasing across sectors. 

Melvin Perez, Statistician: “Now looking at the national monthly inflation rate for the past four years we can see how consumer prices, which began to increase sharply in the months following the start of the pandemic in the year of 2020. Now, after the year of 2020 we have seen gradually slowed down at the rate at which they have been rising since the ending of the year of 2022. And this is why we are seeing a downfall trend in the past years. All right, so before we look at the major categories affecting the cumulative inflation rate of 4.1%, let’s first look at the National Consumer Price Index which summarized all categories of goods and services for the past five years. With our main emphasis being the first two months of the year of 2024 we can see how prices overall increase from January to February. Looking at the same period in the year of 2023 we also see the same trend that happened in the year of 2004 where prices increased in almost all categories of goods and services. Now looking at the all item index, we can see that prices in the year of 2024 are higher than what the prices were in the year of 2023. And this is why when we compare both periods a cumulative inflation rate of 4.1% was recorded for the period. Now looking at the timeline it is clearly showing us how prices has been moving through the years. The first two years prices were practically stable whereas starting in the late of 2020 prices overall started to increase to February of 2024. Now looking at the food and non-alcoholic beverages consumer price index for the past five years it is important to know that this category has the highest weight of all other categories making up one-fourth of the consumer basket. So any movement within this category will strongly influence the overall movement of the national index.”

The SIB also touched on the country’s import and export numbers as well as other important sectors of the economy. We will have a look at these numbers and reports in our evening news.

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