Consumer prices remain almost one percent lower than one year ago reports the Statistical Institute of Belize. The SIB reports that figures for the month of May 2015 showed that the inflation rate stood at negative 0.9 percent, as the Consumer Price Index declined from 103.6 in May of 2014 to 102.7 in May 2015. Falling prices is due largely to transport as the average price per gallon of premium gasoline, regular gasoline, and diesel fuel all fell by more than $2.50, or well over 20 percent, in comparison to the same month last year.
International airfares were also significantly lower, declining by almost one fourth compared to last May. Liquefied petroleum gas prices continued to trend downward, with the average price per 100-pound cylinder falling from almost $120 to $111 from May of last year to May 2015. On average, food prices remained largely unchanged. Some items though continued to see fluctuations and these include beef products which were up by more than 10 percentage points and Red Kidney beans, which were down by more than one third compared to last May. Hospital or clinical consultation fees increased by five percent reports the SIB. Also seeing increases was the cost of household domestic services by 4.5 percent. By district, Dangriga was the only municipality seeing an overall increase in consumer prices in May, with an inflation rate of 1.8 percent. Belmopan saw the biggest drop with a rate of negative two percent, followed closely by San Ignacio/Santa Elena with a negative 1.8 percent.
In External trade, Belize’s total imports saw a decrease. Total imports are valued at $162 million, a 16.8 percent or $32.8 million decrease from the $194.8 million recorded in the same month of 2014. Domestic exports for May 2015 totaled $50.6 million, a $12.9 million or 20.3 percent decrease compared to last May. Diminished sales for most of the country’s major exports contributed to this steep decline, including sugar, crude petroleum and citrus concentrate. Sugar exports recorded a $10 million decline, from $15 million to $5 million. The SIB says this was because only bagged sugar was shipped during the month of May, with bulk sugar for the month being combined with that of June for one large shipment. Lower world market prices continue to impact crude petroleum earnings, which dropped by $4.5 million, from more than $11 million to $6.5 million, despite there being no change in the quantity of barrels exported in comparison to the same month last year. Goods exported during the first four months of 2015 were valued at $247.8 million, $23.6 million less than the same period last year, with two of the major exports recording declines during the period.
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