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Screen_Shot_2016-03-30_at_8.13.34_PMThe Statistical Institute of Belize, today held the first in its 2016 series of press conferences, where its latest economic statistics were presented, including the 2015 fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product estimates, February 2016 External Trade statistics, and February 2016 Consumer Price.

We start off with the Consumer Price Index for which figures show that the prices of various goods and services purchased by Belizean households were, on average, 0.3 percent higher in February 2016 than they were in February of 2015. This means that an increase of 0.9 percent was observed in the “Food & NonAlcoholic Beverages” category when compared to the same period last year.

At the individual product level, higher prices were seen for beef, pork, fish, eggs and fresh vegetables but lower prices for Red Kidney beans partially offset these increases. The “Transport” category recorded an overall decrease of just over 4 percent when compared to last February, despite an increase of 0.7 percent in the “Fuel” index. Premium gasoline prices saw a 27 percent spike while regular gasoline was up by about 3 percent. In contrast, the average price of diesel fuel declined by 9 percent and international airfares were down by 32 percent.

Within the category of “Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels”, home rental prices rose by 0.7 percent in comparison to last February. This increase was, however, offset by lower electricity tariffs and LPG prices, with the latter falling from $93.14 per 100-pound cylinder in February 2015 to $82.60 in February 2016. Prices for “All Other Categories of Goods and Services” saw an average increase of 1.5 percent during the period as a result of higher motor vehicle and health insurance premiums, doctor consultation fees, and restaurant and hotel prices.

While most municipalities recorded a decrease in consumer prices during the month of February 2016, Orange Walk recorded the highest inflation rate of 2.1 percent largely due to one of the highest increases in home rental and food prices experienced during the period. Belmopan continued to record the lowest inflation rate, at negative 1.1 percent.

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