Wednesday, June 24, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: The Statistical Institute of Belize has issued its monthly report on inflation and Belize’s external trade.
Prices are down by 0.9% for the month of May, 2015, over the same month in 2014. Driving the drop is lower gas prices, which fell by over 20 percent or $2.50 from last year’s figures.
International fares are down by a quarter and LPG by nine dollars, with another decrease recently announced. Food prices are unchanged but prices for some items fluctuated; beef products are up more than 10% but red kidney beans are selling for a third less.
In the area of health, doctors’ consultation fees went up 5%, and household domestic service prices rose 4.5% percent, but motor vehicle insurance premiums rose sharply by 7%.
Municipal figures indicate that residents of Belmopan are paying 2% less for items, closely followed by San Ignacio and Santa Elena at 1.8% less. Dangriga was the only municipality to record an overall increase in prices by 1.8%.
Turning to trade, Belize imported $162 million of goods in May of 2015 and exported $50.6 million, both double digit decreases from the same month last year of 16.8 and 20.3 percent respectively.
Less fuel, wheat and corn seed and construction products are being imported but there was increase in purchases of medical supplies and equipment.
Merchandise imports for the period January to May 2015 totaled $809.2 million, representing a relatively small increase of 1.5 percent or $12.3 million over the same period last year.
On the export side, traditional exports such as sugar, petroleum and citrus concentrate all tumbled. Only bagged sugar was shipped in the month of May, resulting in a decline of $10 million; bulk sugar will see a large shipment in June. Petroleum continues its decline, turning in just $6.5 million in revenue with no change in the quantity of barrels exported. There was also a slight reduction in banana exports. The only bright sports are in marine exports, where farm shrimp brought in $2.6 million and red kidney beans just over $1 million.
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. Over this four month period, crude petroleum earnings plunged by almost $33 million, from $51 million to $18 million compared to the same period in 2014.
Sugar sales also decreased, albeit by a less dramatic $6 million from $53 million to $47 million. Partially offsetting these declines were citrus concentrate, bananas and marine products, which grew by a combined $21.7 million.
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