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JM | Sep 21, 2022

Jamaica’s monthly inflation continues to soar

/ Our Today

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Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages drove up inflation by 0.9% last month

Durrant Pate/Contributor

Jamaica’s inflation rate for August has gone up by 0.9 per cent, continuing its monthly surge since the start of the year.

This is as a result of the All-Jamaica Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the country’s inflation rate increasing from 122.7 in July 2022 to 123.8 in August 2022. The biggest factor contributing to this increase was the division’s index for ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages,’ which increased by 1.7 per cent.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), which collates the inflation data, reports that for the review period, classes in this division that recorded increases were ‘Vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses’ (5.1%), ‘Cereals and cereal products’ (1.5%), and ‘Meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals’ (0.9%).

The index for ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ division increased by 0.4 per cent, mainly because of higher electricity rates.

The ‘Recreation, Sport and Culture’ division increased by 0.8 per cent, primarily due to increased costs for textbooks for the review period. All Items saw an increase between August 2021 and August 202­­­2 of 10.2 per cent.

Disaggregating food increases

This was mostly related to increases in the index for the divisions, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ (12.6%), ‘Transport’ (15.0%), and ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ (19.3%). The ‘Food’ group was largely responsible for the jump in the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ index with a 12.7 per cent rise in the index.

The price of items in the classes ‘Cereals and cereal products’ (up 16.2%) and ‘Meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals’ (up 18.6%) were key contributors to this upward movement. The class ‘Cereals and cereal products’ was impacted by increased prices for flour, rice, and bread while the index for the class ‘Meat and other parts of slain land animals’ was influenced by higher costs for chicken, turkey neck and other meat products.

The ‘Transport’ division was primarily affected by higher costs for ‘Passenger transport services’, which rose by 12.7 per cent because of a 15 per cent increase in bus, route taxi, and hackney carriage fares by the Government in August 2021, and ‘Operation of personal transport equipment’, which increased by 25.4 per cent as a result of higher fuel costs.

The offices of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.

Over the review period, the index for the ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ division increased mostly as a result of higher prices for meals consumed at ‘Restaurants, Cafes and the Like’ class.

Major CPI Division Movements

The index for the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ division increased by 1.7 per cent for August 2022. The movement resulted from increases of 1.8 per cent and 1.1 per cent in the index for ‘Food’ group and ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ group respectively.

The ‘Food’ group was influenced mainly by higher prices for items within the classes: ‘Vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas, and pulses’ (5.1%), ‘Cereals and cereal products’ (1.5%), ‘Meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals’ (0.9%), ‘Milk, other dairy products and eggs’ (1.1%) and ‘Oils and Fats’ (2.0%).

The ‘Fish and Seafood’ class declined by 0.4 per cent due to lower prices for salted fish. The ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ group was influenced mainly by higher prices for items within the classes: ‘Water, Soft drinks, and Other non-alcoholic beverages’, which had the greatest impact with a 1.3 per cent increase in its index, followed by ‘Coffee, Tea, Cocoa’ with eight per cent.

The point-to-point inflation rate for this division was 12.6 per cent. The index for the ‘Alcoholic Beverages, Tobacco and Narcotics’ division rose by 0.7 per cent for August 2022.

This upward movement resulted mainly from the 0.9 per cent increase in the index for the group ‘Alcoholic Beverages’ as a result of higher prices for ‘Spirits and liquors’. The point-to-point inflation rate for this division was 9.2 per cent.

Movement in other divisions

The index for the ‘Clothing and Footwear’ division increased by 0.7 per cent for August 2022. The index for both groups within this division, ‘Clothing’ and ‘Footwear’ increased by 0.8 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.

The point-to-point inflation rate for this division was 5.4 per cent. The index for the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’division increased by 0.4 per cent for August 2022.

This movement was mainly contributed by the 1.3 per cent increase in the index for the group ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’, which was influenced by increased rates for electricity. There was a 0.3 per cent rise was realised in the index for the group ‘Maintenance, Repair and Security of the Dwelling’, while ‘Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Relating to the Dwelling’ saw a decline of 0.4 per cent, which was influenced by a decline in water and sewage rates.

The point-to-point inflation rate for this division was 5.1 per cent. The index for the ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance’ division increased by 0.4 per cent for August 2022.

All groups in this division saw an increase with the main contributors being ‘Goods and Services for Routine Household Maintenance’ (0.5%), which was influenced by higher prices for some household products, ‘Household Appliances’ (0.5%) and ‘Tools and Equipment for House and Garden’ (0.4%).

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