Prices increased compared to February – Department of Statistics shows consumer price index

POSTED: 05/27/13 1:57 PM

St. Maarten – The consumer price index for St. Maarten has increased in April by 0.5 percent compared to that of February.

When comparing average consumer prices over a 12 month period, April 2012 to April 2013, an increase of 2.9 percent was recorded compared to the same period one year earlier. The rate of inflation has eased significantly; following an all-time high of 5.5 percent in April 2012. Inflation in food continues to ease, 8.4 percent, declining 5.6 percentage points in 8 months, these figures have been released by the Department of Statistics (STAT) yesterday.

The price index recorded in April is 123.8. In that month, 6 of the 9 expenditure categories have become more expensive, whilst 2 became cheaper and 1 remained unchanged. Amongst the more expensive were the categories; food +0.6%, beverages and tobacco +0.6%, housing +1.2%, household furnishing & appliances +1.3%, recreation & education +1.0% and miscellaneous +0.9%. Whereas, clothing and footwear -0.1% and transport & communication -1.6% became cheaper; medical care remained stable.

In April the expenditure category housing impacted the overall index the most with a 1.2 percent increase in the consumer prices of this category. However the drop in consumer prices recorded for the expenditure category transport & communication -1.6% counteracted its overall increase of the total index.

Within the expenditure category food it can be noted that 7 of the 9 food groups became more expensive whilst one became cheaper and one remained stable. The following increases were recorded in each food group; grain +0.5%, meat and fish +0.1%, fats & oils +0.9, dairy products +1.1%, potatoes, vegetables & fruit +1.1%, eating-out +0.2% and other food resources +0.9%. Whilst the food group pre-cooked dishes -0.1% became slightly cheaper the prices for sugar & chocolate remained stable.

More specifically the following products largely influenced the total price change within the food groups: ‘grain’, this was largely influenced by; pasta +3.2%. ‘Meat & fish’, was largely influenced by; oxtail +6.8%, spareribs -7.0%, other fish +6.4% and salted and dried fish -4.2. The food group ‘dairy products’ was largely influenced by; baby powdered milk +7.4%. The food group ‘potatoes, vegetables & fruit’ was largely influenced by; leafy vegetables +7.9%, legumes 38.4%, onions +9.1%, tomatoes +7.9%, other fresh vegetables -4.3%, frozen vegetables -4.8%, dried beans and peas +8.5%, grapes -10.8% oranges -8.5%, plantains and bananas +5.1% and other fresh fruit -2.3%.

Within the expenditure category housing it is noted that 4 of the 5 product groups became more expensive and one remains stable. The product groups ‘energy expenses’ and ‘maintenance of dwelling’ both increased by 3.8% and 2.3% respectively, whilst ‘garden maintenance’ +0.3% and ‘dwelling costs’ +0.4% increased with less than 1 percent. Increases in the consumer price of the following products; paint +4.3%, roofing material +5.2%, wood +5.7% largely influenced the total price change within the product group maintenance of dwelling. The 4.5 percent increase in prices of electricity, largely influenced the total price change within the product group ‘energy expenses’.

Within the expenditure category transport & communication 1 of the 4 product groups became more expensive, whilst two remained unchanged and one became cheaper. The consumer prices within the product group ‘vehicle expenses’ decreased by 5.4 percent. Noteworthy is that the product group ‘vehicle expenses’ was largely influenced by the following products; Gasoline -12.6%, Diesel -3.9% and Motor oil -2.2%.

The consumer prices over the past three years have recorded steady increases depicted in St. Maarten’s index figures. Noteworthy are slight contractions recorded during the months August, September and December; indicative of easing consumer prices during these months. Yet the trend illustrates a steady upward movement in consumer prices by approximately 13 index points over the 3-year period (April’10 to April’13).

The trend line indicates that inflation on St. Maarten over the prior 3-year period has been climbing. The rate of inflation has shown steady growth since April 2011; reaching an all-time high of 5.5 percent in April of 2012. However over the past 8-months inflation has eased to 2.9 percent in April 2013; this is comparable to that of June 2011 (2.7%).

The 12-month average of consumer prices was 2.9 percent higher in April 2013 than a year earlier. This represents a decrease in the inflation rate of 47.27 percent within this period mentioned.

All 9 expenditure categories recorded inflation in April 2013. Housing at a rate of 0.9 percent, transportation and communication at a rate of 1.6 percent and food prices inflated at a rate of 8.4 percent.

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