March 16, 2018
The inflation for the month of February 2018 decreased 0.1% following a negligible movement in January 2018, according to The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). The Consumer Price Index for the month moved to 248.3 relative to the 248.6 reported for January 2018. This decline was largely attributed to the movement in two divisions, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ down by 0.5% and ‘Housing Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ down by 0.2%. Inflation within the Greater Kingston Metropolitan Area, Other Urban Centres and Rural Areas all registered a decline in their respective index of 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.1% respectively.
The index division the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ division recorded a 0.5 % decline in its index for February 2018, a second consecutive decline recorded. Within this index, the ‘Food’ group recorded a 0.5 % fall and the ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ group showed an increase of 0.4%. The movement in the former was influenced by a 3.0% fall in the class ‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods’. According to STATIN, “This was due to lower prices for vegetables and starchy and starchy foods as produce such as yam, sweet potato, cabbage and carrot saw a reduction in their prices.” For the ‘Non Alcoholic Beverages’ the classes ‘Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa’ and ‘Mineral Waters, Soft Drinks, Fruit and Vegetables Juices’ all rose by 0.4%.
‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ division also recorded a decline of 0.2% in its index for February 2018. This was a result of the group ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ declining 0.8% following an increase of 0.2% in the month of January 2018. According to STATIN, this movement was, “due to the lower rates for electricity.” This was however offset by increases in the water and sewage rates which resulted in the group ‘Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to the Dwelling’ recording a 0.1 % rise in its index. In addition, the index for the other groups ‘Rentals for Housing’, and ‘Maintenance and Repair of Dwellings’ all recorded increases of 0.2% and 2.0% respectively.
The index for ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’ and ‘Transport’ both increased by 0.2% and 0.5% respectively for February 2018. This increase in ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’ was mainly due to higher costs for spirits and beers, while the increase in the ‘Transport’ index was as a result of the “increased prices for petrol and its related products, along with higher airfares.”
The divisions ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance’, ‘Health’ and ‘Recreation and Culture’ all grew by 0.1% for February 2018. The increase in index for the division ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance’ was as a result of the group ‘Household Textiles’ increasing 0.5% while ‘Tools and Equipment for House and Garden’ and ‘Furniture and Furnishings (including Floor Coverings)’ both increasing 0.2%. The ‘Health’ division rose as a result of the 0.1% increase in the group ‘Medical Products, Appliances and Equipment’.
The index ‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ recorded the highest increase of 0.9% for its division. According to STATIN, this was as a result of the increase in the cost associated with the ‘Maintenance of Aged Relatives’. The index for ‘Restaurants and Accommodation’ also increased by 0.2% respectively. The increase in the index for the division ‘Restaurants and Accommodation’ was mainly as a result of increased prices for meals consumed away from home. The index for ‘Education’, ‘Clothing and Footwear’ and ‘Communication’ all recorded a negligible movement for February 2018.
The Inflation rate year to date is 0.2%, while the point-to-point rate (February 2017 – February 2018) and fiscal year 2018/ 2019 was 4.4% and 4.0% respectively. Individual divisions saw the following changes:
- Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: (-0.5%)
- Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco: (0.2%)
- Clothing and Footwear: (0.0%)
- Housing, Water, Electricity, gas and Other Fuels: (-0.2%)
- Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance: (0.1%)
- Health: (0.1%)
- Transport: (0.5%)
- Communication: (0.0%)
- Recreation and Culture: (0.1%)
- Education: (0.0%)
- Restaurants and Accommodation Services: (0.02%)
- Miscellaneous Goods and services: (0.9%)
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