Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2023. 9:40 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: It’s hardly news to Belizeans, but critical food staples still have higher prices in 2023 than in 2022.
Prices have inflated by 4.5 percent from January to August 2023 compared to the same period last year. The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) says prices have been generally rising since 2020 but are starting to fall, though not rapidly enough.
For August, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 3.4 percent compared to 2022. Prices between July and August this year rose 1.3 percent.
Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages are up more than 13 percent while restaurant prices are up 11 percent. However, transport and utilities costs are down slightly.
The Statistical Institute of Belize noted increases in prices for cereals such as oats, fresh fruit, vegetable oil, eggs, and others. Rice, a price-controlled product, rose 15.5 percent and flour rose 14 percent which in turn lifted bread prices by almost 13 percent despite no announced price increases. Corn tortillas are up to $2.25 a pound and oats are up as well.
Fresh vegetables increased 19.4 percent on average, led by the basic cilantro used for cooking, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Irish potatoes, sweet peppers, carrots, and onions.
Natural milk is up to nearly four dollars a liter and evaporated milk to $3.15 per 360-gram tin while powdered milk rose 13.5 percent and cheese nearly eight percent.
Eggs are up to 40 cents each or $4.25 a dozen, and meat sources except for pigtails all saw increases; whole fish is now up to $8.22 per pound on average.
Limes and oranges are costing more, but pineapples less, though bananas remained about the same at 16 cents each – not selling any more at eight for a dollar. Plantains now cost 59 cents each.
Cooking oil jumped 10.6 percent to $6.53/liter, prompting bargain hunters to jump on sale offers of $5.00/liter when one major supermarket closed down recently.
The SIB says it visited more than 2,700 establishments countrywide and counted prices for 395 goods. This basic basket will be expanded following a long-overdue survey to be completed next year.
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