Monthly inflation rate of -0.3% for March 2020

April 16, 2020

Consumer Price Index – March 2020

The consumer price index for March 2020 was 268.8 resulting in an inflation rate of 0.3% reduction when compared to previous month’s 269.5 price index, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). This downward movement was largely attributed to a 1.8% decrease in the division of ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’. However, the overall movement in the index was offset by an increase of 0.5% in the index for the ’Transport’ division, due mainly to higher petrol prices. Inflation within the Greater Kingston Metropolitan Area, Rural Areas and Other Urban Centres each decreased by 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.3% respectively for March 2020.

The index for the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ division recorded a 0.2% decrease in its index for March 2020. Within the index, the ‘Food’ group recorded a 0.3% decline in its index due to the -1.3% decrease in the class ‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods’. According to STATIN, this was because, “prices continued to fall for vegetables especially lettuce, carrot and sweet pepper.” However, the decline was tempered by increases in, the ‘Fruits’ index by 0.7%, ‘Starchy Foods’ of 1.8%, ‘Fish and Seafood’ up by 0.3% and  ‘Bread and Cereals’ by 0.2%. In addition, the ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ group went up by 0.2% with the classes ‘Coffee, Tea and Cocoa’ and ‘Mineral Water, Soft drinks, Fruits and Vegetable Juices’ each registering a 0.2% growth in its index.

However, the division for ‘Alcoholic Beverages’ observed an increase of 0.3% in its index for March 2020, attributable to increased prices for ‘Spirits’ and  ‘Tobacco’. The division ‘Clothing and Footwear’ increased 0.2% in its index, as the group ‘Clothing’ registered growth of 0.3% for March 2020.

The index for the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ division recorded a 1.8% increase in its index for March 2020. The lower rates for electricity caused a 3.7% declined in the index for the group ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’. Moreover, there were higher water and sewage rates in March 2020 which contributed to an increase of 1.7% in the index for ‘Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to the Dwelling’ as stated by STATIN.

The index for the divisions ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment & Routine Household Maintenance’ increased by 0.1%. The main contributor to this increase was the group ‘Goods and Services for Routine Household Maintenance’ which went up by 0.1%. Additionally, the index for the group ‘House Appliances’ recorded a 0.3% increase, while ‘Furniture and Furnishings’ and ‘Household Textiles’ experienced a 0.1% and 0.2% increase, respectively.

The division for ‘Health’ recorded an increase of 0.1% in its index for March 2020. This resulted mainly from the ‘Medical Products, Appliances and Equipment’ and ‘Health Services’ groups which posted increases of 0.1% each.

The ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ division registered a 0.1% rise for March 2020 due to increased prices for meals consumed away from home. Lastly, the division for ‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ produced an increase of 0.1% for March 2020 which was a result of the upward movements in the price for some personal care items.

The movement in the index for the calendar year to date inflation was -0.7%, fiscal year-to-date was 4.8% and the point-to-point movement was 4.8%. Individual divisions saw the following changes:

  1. Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: (-0.2%)
  2. Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco: (0.3%)
  3. Clothing and Footwear: (0.2%)
  4. Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels: (-1.8%)
  5. Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance: (0.1%)
  6. Health: (0.1%)
  7. Transport: (0.5%)
  8. Communication: (0.0%)
  9. Recreation and Culture: (0.0%)
  10. Education: (0.0%)
  11. Restaurants and Accommodation Services: (0.1%)
  12. Miscellaneous Goods and Services: (0.1%)

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