Consumer Price Index – January 2019

Date: February 18, 2019

Consumer Price Index – January 2019

The consumer price index for the month of January 2019 recorded a negative inflation rate of 0.2%, following the 0.1% decline in its index for December 2018, according to The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). The Consumer Price Index for the month of January fell to 254.2, relative to the 257.7 reported for December 2018. This movement was largely attributed to the downward movements in the division, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ by 0.5%, ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ by 0.1% and ‘Transport’ by 0.6%. Inflation within the Greater Kingston Metropolitan Area, Other Urban Centres and Rural Areas all registered negative movements of 0.3% in each of the three index.

The index for the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ division recorded a 0.5% decrease in its index for January 2019, following a 1.5% downward movement for December 2018. This resulted from the downward movements within the ‘Food’ group but however tempered by the 0.5% increase in the group ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’. Within the ‘Food’ group, the class ‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods’ declined 2.5%. STATIN noted, “a surplus of some agricultural products such as cabbage, lettuce, carrots and yam on local market led to the decline in the class for January.” Within the ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ group the classes ‘Mineral Waters, Soft Drinks, Fruit and Vegetable Juices’ and ‘Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa’ recorded increases of 0.4% and 0.7% respectively.

The index for the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ division recorded a 0.1% decline in its index for January 2019, following a 1.3% downward movement for December 2018. This was a result of the two groups ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ and ‘Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to the Dwelling’ registering declines of 0.1% and 0.3% in its index respectively. According to STATIN, this movement was as a result of “the fall in the rates for electricity, water and sewage”

The index for the division ‘Transport’ recorded a decrease of 0.6% in its index for the month of January 2019. According to STATIN, “This movement was mainly attributable to reduced petrol prices.”

The divisions ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment & Routine Household Maintenance’, ‘Health’ and ‘Restaurant and Accommodation Services’ all recorded increases of 0.2% for January 2019. The increase within the division ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment & Routine Household Maintenance’ was attributable to the groups ‘Household Textile’ increasing 0.3%, ‘Furniture and Furnishings’ increasing 0.2% , ‘Household Appliances’ increasing 0.1% and ‘Goods and Services for Routine Household Maintenance’ increasing 0.2%. The main contributors for the increase in the division ‘Health’ was the increase in the groups ‘Medical Products, Appliances and Equipment’ and ‘Health Services’ by 0.1% and 0.2% respectively. The division ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ recorded an upward movement as a result of “increases for meals consumed away from home and accommodation services.”

The divisions ‘Clothing and Footwear’ and ‘Recreation and Culture’ both recorded increases of 0.1% in its index for the month of January 2019. The increase in the division ‘Clothing and Footwear’ was as a result of the 0.1% increase in the group ‘Clothing’ while the increase in the division ‘Recreation and Culture’ was attributable to “increase cost for pet foods”.

The divisions ‘Education and ‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ recorded increases of 1.5% and 0.3% respectively. The former was influenced mainly by “the rise in tuition fees for preparatory schools for the new term” while the upward movement in the index ‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ was influenced by “increased prices for some personal care products and services”.

Notably, the other divisions ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’, and ‘Communication’ had no effect on the index for January 2019.

The movement in the index for the fiscal year-to-date was 2.5 per cent and the point-to-point movement was 2.3 per cent. Individual divisions saw the following changes:

  1. Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: (-0.5%)
  2. Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco: (0.0%)
  3. Clothing and Footwear: (0.1%)
  4. Housing, Water, Electricity, gas and Other Fuels: (-0.1%)
  5. Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance: (0.2%)
  6. Health: (0.2%)
  7. Transport: (-0.6%)
  8. Communication: (0.0%)
  9. Recreation and Culture: (0.1%)
  10. Education: (1.5%)
  11. Restaurants and Accommodation Services: (0.2%)
  12. Miscellaneous Goods and services: (0.3%)

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