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SIB Releases June Figures on Belize’s Cost of Living

The prices of household goods are still high according to the Statistical Institute of Belize. On average, goods and services went up by 0.6 percent. While food and non alcoholic beverages, which the SIB says have remained relatively stable since late 2016, saw a small increase of 0.6 percent, the highest inflation was recorded in transport, which, for June, went up 6.7 percent when compared to 2016. What led to the increase in that sector were higher motor car purchase prices, international airfares, and national bus fares. Furthermore, the price of fuels and lubricants also went up. The highest increase was for Premium gasoline which rose by almost 19 percent from $8.94 in June of last year to $10.62 in June 2017. In addition to these increases, the prices in the Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category went up by 0.3 percent due to an 18.9 percent increase in the average price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The highest inflation was recorded in Dangriga, with 3.1 percent, due mainly to a higher than average increase in home rental prices. The lowest inflation was recorded in Orange Walk Town where home rental costs declined. For the first six months of 2017, a year-to-date inflation rate of 1.5 percent was recorded. Exports went up while imports are down. The SIB says Belize exported 5.2 percent or $1.9 million more in June compared to the same period last year. The increase in sugar sales for June of $11.6 million offset the decrease of other major exports. Marine exports also increased due almost entirely to shrimp sales. Citrus concentrate sales, however fell by almost four million dollars and banana earnings decreased by one million dollars and there was no sale of crude petroleum for June. The total domestic exports for June 2017 were valued at $38.7 million. For the first half of the year, domestic exports are valued at $276.3 million, up $44.5 million or 19.2 percent when compared to the same period last year. The SIB says that sugar continued to be Belize’s top export earner accounting for more than a third of total exports for the first half of the year. Turning to imports, the SIB recorded a decrease of 4.9 percent or eight million dollars for June when compared to the same period last year. This was due to primarily to a drop of imports of Minerals and Lubricants.  Merchandise imports for the period January to June 2017 totaled $894.3 million, representing a 4.8 percent or a $45 million decrease from the same six-month period last year.