Food
JM | Dec 20, 2020

Jamaican inflation climbs 0.6% in November

/ Our Today

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The country’s main contributor to the inflation was a 1.7% rise in the index for the heavily weighted division food and non-alcoholic beverages. (Photo: UNICEF.org)

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting that Jamaica’s inflation rate for November climbed by 0.6%.

The main contributor to this increase was a 1.7% rise in the index for the heavily weighted division, Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. Due to lower supplies caused by adverse weather conditions, the prices of vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, tomato and sweet pepper continued to increase.

Consequently, the index for the food class of vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses registered the biggest increase of 5.7%. The index for the Housing Water, Electricity, Gas and other fuels division recorded a negligible increase.

This was mainly attributable to higher rates for electricity, which resulted in the index for the group, Electricity, Gas and other fuels increasing by 3.8%. The division’s movement was however tempered by the decline of 2.3% in the index for the group Rentals for Housing.

Movement in the food and non-alcoholic beverages division

Within this division, the food group index recorded growth of 1.8%, attributed to the class vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses, which had a 5.7% increase in its index. This was influenced by higher prices for agricultural produce such as carrot, cabbage, tomato and sweet pepper as a result of reduced supplies.

Notwithstanding, lower prices for yam and Irish potato tempered the movement of this class. Other classes registering notable increases were Meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals, up 0.7%; Oils and Fats, up 1.1%, ready-made food and other food products going up by 1.2% and Fruits and Nuts, which jumped 1.4%.

Meat shooping in the Mandeville Market. (Photo: Wonders of Jamaica)

In the Non-Alcoholic Beverages group, the index went up by 0.5%. Within this group, the index for all three classes increased with Fruit and Vegetable juices recording the highest movement of 0.7%, followed by coffee, tea and cocoa, up 0.4% and water, soft drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages, which saw a 0.3% rise in prices.

Marginal upward movement in alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics

The Alcoholic Beverages, Tobacco and Narcotics Division advanced by 0.1% for November 2020, due to a 0.2% increase in the index for the class alcoholic beverages. While the division for Clothing and Footwear observed an increase of 0.4% in its index for November 2020. In the index, the group of Clothing was up 0.5% and Footwear, climbed by 0.3%.

The index for the Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and other fuels division recorded a negligible increase for November 2020. This was as a result of a 3.8% rise in the index for the group, Electricity, Gas and other fuels, due to increased electricity rates.  

Traffic flow at the intersection of Contant Spring and Half-Way-Tree roads in Kingston. (Photo: Inter-American Development Bank)

The increase was however tempered by a 2.3% fall in the group, Rental for Housing. Inflation of 0.3% was recorded for the division, Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance.

This was mainly due to the 1.0% rise in the index for the group, Furniture, Furnishing and Loose Carpets. STATIN reports that, “other groups recording increases were: Tools and Equipment for House and Garden and Goods and Services for Routine Household Maintenance, each increased by 0.3%, while Household Textiles moved up by 0.2% and ‘Household Appliances’ went up by 0.1% for the period under review.”

There were also increases in the Health division

The division for ‘Health’ recorded an increase of 0.5% in its index for November 2020. The main contributing factors to this upward movement were increases in the groups Medicines and Health Products and Outpatient Care Services which went up by 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

For three consecutive months, the index Transport declined by 0.1%. According to STATIN, this was largely due to, “lower petrol prices.” In addition, the Information and Communication group recorded a 2.0% decline.

The Recreation, Sport and Culture division registered a 0.2% rise for November 2020. The factor which contributed to this movement was the 0.3% increase in the group, Newspapers, Books and Stationery.

The upward trend was due to higher prices for books, stationery and drawing materials. STATIN highlighted a significant 3.1% increase in the Restaurants and Accommodation Services division in the previous month. However for November 2020 it recorded a negligible movement, which was triggered by higher prices for food consumption away from home.

Lastly, the division for Personal Care, Social Protection and Miscellaneous Goods and Services produced an increase of 0.4% for November 2020, which was a result of price increase for some personal care products and services such as toothpaste and toilet paper. The movement in the index for calendar year to date inflation was 5.0%, fiscal year-to-date was 3.7% and the point- to-point was 4.3% as at November 2020.

Individual divisions saw the following changes:

  1. Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: (1.7%)
  2. Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco: (0.1%)
  3. Clothing and Footwear: (0.4%)
  4. Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels: (0.0%)
  5. Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance: (0.3%)
  6. Health: (0.5%)
  7. Transport: (-0.1%)
  8. Information and Communication: (-2.0%)
  9. Recreation, Sport and Culture: (0.2%)
  10. Education: (1.2%)
  11. Restaurants and Accommodation Services: (0.0%)
  12. Insurance and Financial Services (0.0%)
  13. Personal Care, Social Protection and Miscellaneous Goods and Services: (0.4%)

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