Monthly inflation rate of 0.1% for February 2019

Date: March 18, 2019

Consumer Price Index – Feburary 2019

The consumer price index for the month of February 2019 recorded an inflation rate of 0.1%, following a 0.2% decline in its index for January 2019, according to The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). The Consumer Price Index for the month of February fell to 254.3, relative to the 254.2 reported for January 2019. This movement was largely attributed to the upward movements in the division, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ by 0.7%, The ‘Transport’ and ‘Recreation and Culture’ division both recorded increases in their index of 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. The ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ division tempered the overall movement with a 2.5% decline as a result of reduced electricity, water and sewage rates. Inflation within the, Other Urban Centres and Rural Areas all registered declines of 0.3 each, while inflation in the greater Kingston Metropolitan area advanced 0.7%

The index for the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ division recorded a 0.7% increase in its index for February 2019, following a 0.5% downward movement for January 2019. This resulted from the upward movements within the ‘Food’ group by 0.7%. Within the ‘Food’ group, the class ‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods’ increase 2.0% as tomato price climbed substantially in all three regions. According to STATIN, “the strongest impact was recorded in the GKMA region due to its weight contribution.” Additionally, STATIN stated, “lower prices were recorded for items such as carrot, cabbage and yam, higher prices for tomato, sweet potato had a stronger impact on the index.” Other  classes such as ‘Meat’, ‘Fish and Seafood’ and ‘Fruit’ recorded increases of 0.3%, 0.2% and 0.8% respectively. The ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ group registered a 0.2% growth in its index, as the groups ‘Coffee, Tea and Cocoa’ and ‘Mineral Water, Soft drinks, Fruits and Vegetable Juices’ recorded increases of 0.2%. the divisions calendar year-to-date inflation rate was 0.2%, while the point-to-point and fiscal year-to-date were 1.0%.

The index for the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ division recorded a 2.5% decline in its index for February, following a 0.1% downward movement for January 2019. 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 4.3% and 2.2% in its index respectively. Additionally, ‘Maintenance and Repair of Dwellings’ group recorded an increase of 2.4% as a result of higher wages for carpenters, masons, painters, plumbers and electricians. The division for the calendar year to date inflation rate recorded a contraction of 2.6%, while the point to point rate was 1.9%. The fiscal year-to-date rate registered a decline of 1.3%.

The index for the division ‘Transport’ recorded an increase of 0.2% in its index for the month of February 2019. According to STATIN, “This movement was mainly attributable to reduced petrol prices.”

The divisions ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment & Routine Household Maintenance’, ‘Health’, ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’ and ‘Clothing and Footwear’ all recorded increases of 0.1% for February 2019. The increase within the division Furnishings, Household Equipment & Routine Household Maintenance’, the groups ‘Furniture and Furnishings’ and ‘Household Appliances’ each moved upwards by 0.2%. The advance in the ‘Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco’ division advanced as a result of increased prices for ‘Wine’.

According to STATIN “A 0.1 per cent rise was recorded in the index for the division Health for February 2019”. The main contributors for the increase was the increase in the groups ‘Medical Products, Appliances and Equipment’ by 0.2% for the group. Notably, the other divisions ‘Education’, ‘Communication’ and ‘Restaurant and Accommodation Services’ had no effect on the index for February 2019.

The movement in the index for the fiscal year-to-date was 2.5% and the point-to-point movement was 2.4% per cent. The calendar year-to-date inflation rate was –o.2%. Individual divisions saw the following changes:

  1. Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: (0.7%)
  2. Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco: (0.1%)
  3. Clothing and Footwear: (0.1%)
  4. Housing, Water, Electricity, gas and Other Fuels: (-2.5%)
  5. Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance: (0.1%)
  6. Health: (0.1%)
  7. Transport: (0.2%)
  8. Communication: (0.0%)
  9. Recreation and Culture: (0.4%)
  10. Education: (0.0%)
  11. Restaurants and Accommodation Services: (0.0%)
  12. Miscellaneous Goods and services: (0.2%)

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