Monthly inflation rate of 0.7% for February 2020

Date: March 17, 2020

The consumer price index for February 2020 was 269.5 resulting in an inflation rate of 0.7%, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). This upward movement was largely attributed to a 9.2% increase in the division of ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’. However, the overall movement in the index was offset by the decline of 0.7% and 0.3% in the index in the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ and ‘Transport’ divisions respectively. Inflation within the Greater Kingston Metropolitan Area, Rural Areas and Other Urban Centres each increased by 0.4%, 1.0% and 0.8% respectively for February 2020.

The index for the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ division recorded a 0.7% decrease in its index for February 2020. Within the index, ‘Non- alcoholic Beverages’ rose by 0.4%, whereas the ‘Food’ group recorded a 0.7% decline in its index due to the 2.6% decrease in the class ‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods’. According to STATIN, this was attributable to a, “downward movement in prices for agricultural items, especially vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, carrot, and tomato.” With the exception of the decline in the ‘Fruits’ index by 0.5%, there were increases in all the other classes within the group. The major increases were recorded for the following classes: ‘Bread and Cereal’(0.2%), ‘Milk, Cheese and Eggs’ (0.3%) and ‘Oils and Fats’( 0.3%). ‘From the ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ group, the class ‘Mineral Water, Soft drinks, Fruits and Vegetable Juices’ registered a 0.4% growth in its index.

However, the division for ‘Alcoholic Beverages’ observed an increase of 0.3% in its index for February 2020, attributable to increased prices for ‘Wines’. The division ‘Clothing and Footwear’ increased 0.2% in its index, as the groups ‘Footwear’ and ‘Clothing’ registered  growths of 0.1% and 0.2% for February 2020.

The index for the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ division recorded a 9.2% increase in its index for February 2020. The increased rate for water and sewage contributed a 6.7% increase in the index for the group ‘Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to the Dwelling’. Moreover, there were higher electricity rates  in February 2020 which contributed to the 15.3% increase in the index for ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’. There was also a 2.0% rise in the index for ‘Maintenance and Repair of Dwelling’ attributable to “higher wages for carpenters, masons, painters, plumbers and electricians,” 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 ‘Household Appliances’ which went up by 0.4%. Moreover, the index for the group ‘Goods and Services for Routine Household Maintenance’ recorded a 0.1% increase while index for ‘Tools and Equipment for House and Garden’ experienced a 0.2% increase.

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

The ‘Transport’ division recorded a 0.3% decline in February 2020 attributable to “lower cost for petrol.” Moreover, “this fall was tempered by a rise in the cost for air travel,” as indicated by STATIN.

The ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ division registered a 0.1% rise for February 2020 due to increased prices for meals consumed away from home. Lastly, the division for ‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ produced an increase of 0.2% for February 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 0.4%, fiscal year-to-date was 5.1% and the point-to-point movement was 6.0%. Individual divisions saw the following changes:

  1. Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: (-0.7%)
  2. Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco: (0.3%)
  3. Clothing and Footwear: (0.2%)
  4. Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels: (9.2%)
  5. Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance: (0.1%)
  6. Health: (0.1%)
  7. Transport: (-0.3%)
  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: (0.2%)



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