Out of all municipalities, Orange Walk Town, once again, reported the highest rate of inflation, while Independence village reported the lowest.
By Khaila Gentle
BELMOPAN, Sat. July 30, 2022
The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) has revealed that the overall national inflation rate for June 2022 was 6.7%, primarily due to an increase in consumer prices for motor vehicle fuels, food, and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), which are notably higher than what they were in June 2021. The Consumer Price Index report released last week also pointed to increases in the cost of transportation services, restaurant services, entrance fees to cinemas, and household cleaning products as well.
As has been the case in previous months, a surge in prices of products in the “Transport” category, which includes fuel pump prices, was the main contributor to the inflation rate. This time around, it accounted for almost half of the overall increase in consumer prices, with average prices up by 27.7% when compared to June of last year. The price of premium gasoline registered the highest increase, having gone from $11.76 per gallon in June 2021 to $15.87.
Additionally, said the SIB, passenger transport services were up by 13.8%, as higher bus fares, international airfares, taxi fares, and sea fares were seen across the country.
In the “Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages” category, price increases for cereal products, including rice, flour, and bread; meats, including poultry, beef, and pork; cooking oils; fresh produce, including watermelons, cabbages, and Irish potatoes; and dairy products, such as natural milk and eggs, also contributed significantly to the inflation rate.
LPG prices, which come under the category of “Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels” were 27.1% percent higher than they were in June of 2021, with the average cost of a 100-lb cylinder of gas rising from $113.02 to $143.67. Furthermore, prices for construction materials for household use were up by 14.3%, while rent was up by 0.6%.
The only major category within which a decrease in prices was recorded was “Information and Communication”. This is owed to a decrease in the cost of internet services.
When it comes to inflation rate by municipality, Orange Walk Town, once again, reported the highest figures, with a rate of 9.6%. (It stood at 9.4% in April and 9.7% in May). This was attributed to increases in the prices of food items, home rental costs, restaurant services, laundry products, soaps, detergents, women’s clothing, and haircuts in that locality. The lowest inflation rate— 5.1%— was recorded in the village of Independence.
In May, the national inflation rate stood at 6.6%, while it was 5.8% in April.
The SIB also issued a report on the country’s imports and domestic exports for June 2022, noting that imports were up by 19.8% while exports had increased by 112.5%. According to the SIB, total domestic exports increased by $31.1 million—going from $28.1 million in June 2021 to $59.7 million in June 2022. The main driver for this increase was sugar, with earnings from the industry more than tripling. According to the SIB, this was due to the fact that a bulk shipment of sugar was recorded this year, while no shipments were made in June of last year.