Consumer prices jump 0.8 percent between February and April

POSTED: 06/26/12 12:43 PM

St. Maarten – The consumer price index for St. Maarten has increased by 0.8 percent in the month of April 2012 when compared to that of February 2012. The price index recorded in April 2012 is 121.5.This is evident from the data released by the Department of Statistics (Stat) on Monday.
All nine expenditure categories have become more expensive in April 2012. The expenditure categories, which recorded the largest increases, are: Food (+1.3%), Beverages and Tobacco (+1.8%), Clothing and Footwear (+1.7%), Household Furnishing & Appliances (+1.3%) and Transport & Communication (+1.1%). The remaining four categories increased slightly (below 1 percent) namely; Housing (+0.6%), Medical Care (+0.5%), Recreation & Education (+0.1%) and Miscellaneous (+0.8%).

A Closer Look
The categories with the largest influence in the basket are Food (10%), Housing (39%) and Transport & Communication (20%). In April 2012 the expenditure category Housing impacted the overall index the most, yet the increase in this category was below 1 percent (+0.6%). Although the expenditure category Beverages and Tobacco has the least significant impact (1%) on the total index, it recorded the largest price increase (+1.8%) in April 2012 relative to February 2012. Looking at this category more closely, it is noted that the increase was due in particular to higher prices for beverage products.

Food
Within the expenditure category Food it can be noted that eight of the nine food groups became more expensive whilst one became cheaper. The following increases were recorded in each food group; Grain (+1.2%), Meat and Fish (+1.0%), Fats & Oils (+0.6%), Dairy Products (+3.4%), Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruit (+2.3%), Sugar & Chocolate (+0.1%), Pre-cooked dishes (+1.0%) and other food resources (+1.1%). A price reduction of 1.2 percent was recorded within the food group eating-out.
More specifically the following products largely influenced the total price change within the food group: Grains largely influenced by; White Bread (+2.5%) and Cakes & Pies (+15.5%). The food group Meat & Fish was largely influenced by; Beef (+10.3%), Oxtail (+8.6%), Ground beef (+22.3%) Pork chops (-13.0%), Spare ribs (-10%), Ham (-2.4%) and other Fish (+2.6%).
The food group Dairy Products was largely influenced by; Powder Milk (+2.9%), Yoghurt and pudding (+26.6%), Baby Powder Milk (-1.7%) and Eggs (+13.1%). The food group Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruit was largely influenced by; Green Beans (-21.0%), Onions & Garlic (+4.2%), Paprika (-5.3%), other Fresh Vegetables (+3.3%) and other fruits (+40.8%).

Housing
Within the expenditure category Housing it can be noted that four of the five product groups became more expensive whilst one remain unchanged. Dwelling costs (+0.4%), Energy expenses (+0.9%), House maintenance (+1.2%) and Garden maintenance (+0.6%) were amongst the more expensive product groups. The overall increase recorded in this expenditure category is primarily the result of the increase in energy expenses. More specifically it must be noted that the products Electricity (-1.7%) and Cooking Gas (+15.9%) largely influenced the total price percentage change recorded in the product group Energy Expenses.
The product group House maintenance was mostly influenced by the product wood, which increased with 4.1 percent in April 2012 relative to February 2012.

Transport & Communication
Within the expenditure category Transport & Communication, one product became more expensive and one became cheaper whilst two remained unchanged. The consumer prices within the product group Vehicle Expenses increased by 4.3 percent in April 2012 relative to February 2012. Whereas the consumer prices for Communication decreased by 0.2 percent over this same period. The product groups Vehicle Purchase and Transport Services remained stable. Even though the overall weights of each of the four product groups within this category are equal, it must be noted that the increase in Vehicle expenses had the largest impact on the total change. The product group Vehicle Expenses was largely influenced by the following products; Gasoline (+10.9%) and Diesel (+4.1%). Whereas an 8.4 percent decrease in the consumer prices for mobile phones, primarily influenced the product group Communication.

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