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Prices keep rising – up nearly 5 percent through the first quarter of 2022

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Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2022. 5:06 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The knock-on effects of world events have led to prices rising 4.8 percent for all goods and services through the first three months of 2022 compared to 2021, according to the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB).

The rise is driven primarily by higher costs for fuel, food, LPG, and restaurant services. Transport prices rose nearly 17 percent, mostly for motor vehicle fuels and new vehicle costs, followed by food and non-alcoholic beverages at 4.1 percent, with increases for meats, cereal products, cooking oils, and seafood items.

Higher butane prices and prices for construction materials lifted the housing/utilities/other fuels category by 2.4 percent, while restaurant and accommodation prices rose five percent and furnishing/household equipment/household maintenance rose 2.7 percent, mainly reflecting higher prices for laundry products, soap, and detergent.

For March, the overall national inflation rate stood at 5.7 percent with most of the same categories – motor vehicle fuel, food, LPG, restaurant services, and household cleaning products – affected. Prices for women’s clothing are also up, the SIB says.

Despite government intervention, fuel prices are up nearly 28 percent over last year. The average price of diesel at $13.41 is $3.10 higher than last March; premium gasoline rose by $2.91 and regular gasoline rose $2.78. It’s also costing 8.1 percent more to buy a new motor vehicle.

Basic groceries such as pigtail, vegetable oil, rice, chicken wings, tomatoes, watermelon, and Irish potatoes have seen prices rise, though people are paying less for red kidney beans, black beans, onions, and cabbages.

LPG costs rose more than 34 percent per annum to a high of $149.40 before the announced decrease before Easter; construction materials also rose 14.2 percent, but rent is down half a point, and electricity tariffs 3.5 percent. Prices also increased for restaurants, laundry products, soap, detergent, and women’s clothing and footwear.

But this is probably a good time to get your technological gadget as prices are down for the internet, computers, laptops, tablets, and external storage devices.

Interestingly, Orange Walk Town suffered a nine percent rise in prices, above average according to the SIB, including 3.7 percent in rental costs. The rest of the nation ranged between 4.4 percent in Independence and Punta Gorda and nearly six percent in Belize City and Corozal Town.

Prices between February and March of 2022 rose 1.1 percent, with motor vehicle fuels accounting for nearly seven points more in that timespan and diesel rising 15.7 percent in cost while LPG rose 12.2 percent.

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