Prices of basic goods stable as inflation rate decreases

POSTED: 10/25/11 3:11 PM

St. Maarten – Figures released by the Department of Statistics on Monday shows that the consumer price index for St. Maarten has remained stable in the month of August 2011 when compared to that of June 2011. A year on year comparison shows that the same index is 3.2 percent higher in August 2011 when compared with the figures for August 2010. The price index recorded in August 2011 is 117.4

Expenditure Categories

Six of the nine expenditure categories became more expensive in August 2011. At the same time two expenditure categories became cheaper and one category remained stable. A specific look showed Food (+1.4%), Beverages and Tobacco (+3.4%), Clothing and Footwear (+2.4%), Household Furnishing & Appliances (+3.8%), Medical Care (+1.0%) and Miscellaneous (+0.3%) are amongst the more expensive whilst prices of Housing (-1.6%) and Recreation & Education (-0.1%) are slightly cheaper. The prices of Transport & Communication remained stable.

A Closer Look

The categories with the largest influence in the basket are Food (10%), Housing (39%) and Transport & Communication (20%). The Housing category impacts the total consumer basket the greatest and with a recorded decrease in prices of 1.6 percent. This balanced out the increases in other categories such that the total index remained stable. Even though the expenditure category Household Furnishing & Appliances has an overall low (6%) impact on the total index, it recorded the largest price increase (+3.8%) in August relative to June 2011.

Food

Within the expenditure category Food it can be noted that seven of the nine food groups became more expensive. The following increases were recorded in each food group; Grain (+2.1%), Meat and Fish (+2.0%), Fats & Oils (+1.2%), Dairy Products (+0.4%), Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruit (+1.4%), Eating-out (+0.7%) and other food resources (+1.9%). The prices within the food group pre-cooked dishes remained stable, while the food group Sugar & Chocolate (+6.7%) became less expensive.

More specifically the following products largely influenced the total price change within the food group: Grains largely influenced by; White Bread (+4.1%), Raisin Bread (+18.6%), Flour (+5.0%). and Cereal (+2.9%). The food group Meat & Fish was largely influenced by; Beef (-4.2%) and Boneless Pork Meat (+7.9%). The food group Fats & Oils was largely influenced by; Cooking oil (+2.2%). The food group Dairy Products was largely influenced by; Canned Milk (+3.4%) and Cheese (+4.3%). The food group Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruit was largely influenced by; Cabbage (+22.3%), Leafy Vegetables (+6.9%), Carrots (-8.7%), Onions and Garlic (+8.4%), Tomatoes (-6.4%), Apples and pears (+8.3%) and Grapes & Plums (-13.0%). The food group Sugar & Chocolate was largely influenced by; Sugar (-5.0%). The food group Other Food Resources was largely influenced by; Spices (+10.1%)

Housing

Within the expenditure category Housing it can be noted that two of the five product groups became more expensive whilst one remains unchanged and two groups became cheaper. Amongst the more expensive were the product groups Dwelling costs (+0.4%), and Garden maintenance (+5.1%) whilst, Energy expenses (-7.6%) and House maintenance (-0.9%) became cheaper.

More specifically it must be noted that the products Electricity (-8.8%) largely influenced the total price percentage change recorded in the product group Energy Usage. The product group Maintenance of dwelling was largely influenced by; Paint (-6.0%), Wood (+4.8%) and Metals (+6.8%). The product group Garden Maintenance was largely influenced by; fertilizer and soil (+36.3%).

Transport & Communication

Within the expenditure category Transport & Communication one of the four product groups became more expensive whilst two remained stable and one became less expensive. The product group Vehicle Expenses increased by 1.5 percent, while Vehicle Purchase decreased by 1.3 percent.

The price change recorded for a new car (-1.4%) largely influenced the total price percentage change recorded in the product group Vehicle Purchase. Note the price change in Gasoline (+1.7%), Diesel (+7.2%), Motor Oil (+3.6%), Grease (-10.0%), Car Parts (+3.3%) and Tires (+2.9%) largely influenced the total price change within the product group Vehicle Expenses.

Inflation

The inflation rate of August 2011 (3.2%) has decreased by 11.11 percent compared to that of August 2010 (3.6%). All nine expenditure categories recorded inflation in August 2011. Housing at a rate of 4.1 percent, which is the category with the largest influence (39%), Transportation and Communication at a rate of 3.3 percent, which is the second largest category (20%) and Food prices inflated at a rate of 4.7 percent, which is the third largest category (10%).

Inflation over the prior 2-year period has been climbing. Inflation recorded in August 2011(3.2%) is comparable to that recorded in December 2010 (3.2%).

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