The Statistical Institute of Belize released their findings in the Consumer Price Index, External Trade and life expectancy rates in a press conference this morning in Belize City.
And while the outlook is not good for Belizeans, the institute reported a steady increase of 1.6 percent for the Month of May compared to last year’s indicators. The single largest contributor to the increase were higher transport costs followed by housing, water, gas, food and insurance premiums.
Outside of food and energy, there were widespread price pressures as well. Airline tickets were on average 24 percent higher than in May 2013. Prices in home rental also showed an increase of 1.5 percent compared to last year. Utilities such as water tariffs showed a rise roughly by 7 percent. Electricity showed a decrease from last year at 8 percent, this was due to the new tariff that came in effect this year.
As we all know, the Belizean dollar is mostly affected when it comes to purchasing food supplies. The institute recorded that higher vegetable process were again the main cause in the increase of food prices.
Items such as red and black beans, cabbages, carrots, potatoes were at an all-time high. Belizeans are certainly feeling the rising effects of the cost of living and yet with the increases, salaries and wages remain the same. Despite the rising trend Prime Minister Dean Barrow claims that all is ‘honky dory’ in Belize.
The SIB report also shows that figures for the External Trade in May reveal that Belize imported $194.8 Million dollars’ worth of goods, an increase of $31.7 million or 19.5 percent over May of last year. For perspective, this puts the value of imports for the first five months of the year at $800 million, which represents an increase of roughly $54 million over the same period in 2013.
And increase of $16.7 million was noted in the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, this was due to the increase in gasoline and diesel fuels. The food category showed a $5.4 million increase mainly because of more purchases of corn seeds and white rice.
The total value of goods imported during May represented an all-time high in monthly imports; the United States accounted for 28.3 percent of total imports in this period. The institute reports that since the start of the year, Belize has imported $796.7 million worth of goods; $53.8 million more than what was spent last year. In the domestic exports sector, receipts amounted to $50.2 million in May 2014, representing a fall of almost $32 million from the same month last year.
The European Union provided more than one half of the export receipts during the month. Top three earners for the month were citrus, sugar and bananas. Five months into the year, the total domestic export receipts stand at $254.7 million, a full $77 million LESS than the amount earned in the same period last year.
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