Posted: Sunday, January 15, 2023. 5:50 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Belizeans countrywide were affected by rising costs of goods and services in 2022, but the exact impact of those increases is still unknown as the final inflation figures for 2022 are currently unavailable.
The Statistical Institute of Belize held its first press conference for the year last week, providing data for January-November 2022, which showed that consumers paid an average of 6.2 percent more for goods and services when compared to the same 11-month period in 2021.
“The ‘Transport’ category, with a year-to-date inflation rate of 18.8 percent, was directly responsible for almost a half of the overall increase in consumer prices for the eleven-month period, as considerably higher costs were seen across all types of motor vehicle fuels, as well as new motor vehicles and passenger transport services,” the SIB said.
Another category that saw a high increase was the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category, which had a year-to-date inflation rate of 7.3 percent. The SIB attributed the increase in this category primarily to higher prices for cereal products, dairy products, meats, cooking oils, fresh produce, and seafood.
The SIB’s data showed that the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category had a cumulative inflation rate of 2.3 percent, which was said to have been caused mainly by a 17.7 percent increase in LPG prices and higher costs for construction materials for household use.
“Among the other categories, notable increases were seen in prices for restaurant services, cinema entrance fees, laundry products, soaps, and detergents. ‘Information and Communication’, on the other hand, declined by 1 percent, as a result of lower prices for internet provision,” the SIB added.
The final figures will be ready later this year; however, by that time goods and services would have been subject to even more changes. Last week multiple reports suggested that flour, a price-controlled product, saw a sharp increase in price per pound. Consumers also took to social media to voice their discontent with the rise in the cost of butter.
A release from the Government of Belize also warned Belizeans to prepare for a 30 percent increase in the cost of condensed milk imported from outside the region, as a means of making condensed milk produced within CARICOM more attractive.
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