The inflation for the month of March 2018 declined for the second consecutive month with a contraction of 0.1% following the same movement in February 2018, according to The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). The Consumer Price Index for the month moved to 248.1 relative to the 248.3 reported for February 2018. This decline was largely attributed to the movement in the index for the heaviest weighted division, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ which declined by 1.0%. Inflation within the Greater Kingston Metropolitan Area declined 0.3% while Other Urban Centres and Rural Areas both registered negligible movements in their index.
The index for ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ division recorded a 1.0 % decline in its index for March 2018, a third consecutive decline recorded. Within this index, the ‘Food’ group recorded a 1.1 % fall and the ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ group showed an increase of 0.1%. The movement in the former was influenced by a 4.3% fall in the class ‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods’. According to STATIN, this was as a result of, “the prices for some produce such as tomato, sweet pepper, carrot and yam continue to fall.” For the ‘Non Alcoholic Beverages’ the classes ‘Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa’ and ‘Mineral Waters, Soft Drinks, Fruit and Vegetables Juices’ all rose by 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.
‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ division recorded an increase of 3.2% in its index for March 2018. This was a result of the group ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ increasing 5.5% following an increase of 0.8% in the month of February 2018. According to STATIN, this movement was “due to the higher rates for electricity.” In addition, increases in the water and sewage rates also resulted in the group ‘Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to the Dwelling’ to increase by 1.8 %. Lastly, the index for the other groups ‘Rentals for Housing’, and ‘Maintenance and Repair of Dwellings’ both recorded negligible movements.
The index for ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’ and ‘Recreation and Culture’ both increased by 0.1% for March 2018. This increase in ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’ was mainly due to higher costs for spirits and wines, while the increase in the division ‘Recreation and Culture’ index was as a result of, “the increase in the cost for ‘Fertilizer and Manure’ and ‘Equipment for sport, camping and open-air recreation’.”
The division ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance’ grew by 0.2% and for March 2018. This was as a result of the group ‘Goods and Services for Routine Household Maintenance’ increasing the largest by 0.2% while the other groups ‘Tools and Equipment for House and Garden’ and ‘Household Textiles’ both increased by 0.1%.
The division ‘Transport’ however recorded a decline of 0.4% in its index for March 2018. According to STATIN, this was as a result of the, “fall in the price of petrol”. Notably, the divisions ‘Clothing and Footwear’, ‘Health’, ‘Communication’, ‘Education’, ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ and ‘Miscellaneous Goods and services’, all recorded a negligible movement for March 2018.
The Inflation rate year to date is -0.2%, while the point-to-point rate (March 2017 – March 2018) and fiscal year 2018/ 2019 was -0.3% and 3.9% respectively. Individual divisions saw the following changes:
- Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: (-1.0%)
- Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco: (0.1%)
- Clothing and Footwear: (0.0%)
- Housing, Water, Electricity, gas and Other Fuels: (3.2%)
- Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance: (0.2%)
- Health: (0.0%)
- Transport: (-0.4%)
- Communication: (0.0%)
- Recreation and Culture: (0.1%)
- Education: (0.0%)
- Restaurants and Accommodation Services: (0.0%)
- Miscellaneous Goods and services: (0.0%)
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