The Consumer Price Index for Sint Maarten has increased in the month of October 2017 by 0.9 percent compared to that of August 2017. When comparing average consumer prices over a twelve month period (October 2016 to October 2017) an inflation rate of 1.9% is recorded. This is evident from the data released by the Department of Statistics (STAT) today.
Price changes between October and August 2017
The Consumer Price Index for Sint Maarten has increased in the month of October 2017 by 0.9 percent compared to that of August 2017. The price index recorded in October 2017 is 131.2
Expenditure Categories – overall increase
In October 2017, seven of the nine expenditure categories saw an increase. Prices increased in: ‘Food’ (+3.2%), ‘Beverages & Tobacco’ (+0.7%), ‘Housing’ (+0.9%), ‘Household Furnishing & Appliances’ (+0.8%), ‘Transport & Communication’ (+0.1%), ‘Recreation & Education’ (+0.3%) and ‘Miscellaneous’ (+0.4%). Whereas, decreases were recorded for the expenditure categories: ‘Clothing & Footwear’ (-1.2%) and ‘Medical Care’ (-0.2%).
FOOD EXPENDITURE CATEGORY
10% of CPI
Within the Food category, eight of the nine sub groups became more costly, while only one was less expensive. The following groups recorded increases: Grain (+0.7%), Meat and Fish (+1.1%), Fats & Oils (+1.1%), Dairy Products (5.0%), Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruits (+8.1%), Pre-cooked Dishes (+1.7%), Eating-out (+1.5%) and Other Food Resources (+2.1%), while Sugar & Chocolate (-1.8%) became cheaper.
More specifically, certain products within the Food subgroups largely influenced the total price change of the Food category. Hence, the group ‘Grain’ was influenced by sweetbread loaf and biscuits (-5.1%), white rice (-2.0%), brown rice (+9.5%) and flour (+9.6%). The group ‘Meat & Fish’ was impacted most by: beef (+16.1%), round steak, T-bone (+44.1%), other beef organs (-25.9%), pork chops (+2.8%), goat meat (-19.3%), other sausages (-10.9%), chicken & chicken organs (+8.6%), luncheon meat (-27.3%) and other fish n.e.c2 (-11.7%).
The largest influences of the group ‘Dairy Products’ were: canned milk (+4.3%), baby powdered milk (-6.5%), yoghurt & custard (+32.1%), ice cream and milkshake (+11.4%), regular cheese (+2.3%) and eggs (+23.0%).
The price change of the subgroup ‘Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruits’ was largely due to:
fresh potatoes (-2.6%), leafy greens (+51.9%), cole crops such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, etc. (+7.1%), carrots and tuber crops such as sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, etc. (+5.6%), garlic and onions (+19.4%), tomatoes (19.1%), sweet peppers (+13.2%), other fruit vegetables such as cucumbers, eggplants, etc.(+19.9%), fresh culinary herbs4 (+9.4%), dried beans and peas (+5.2%), apples and pears (+10.1%), grapes, plums and strawberries (-1.5%), oranges (+16.9%), other citrus fruits (+16.3%), fresh fruit n.e.c3 (+1.4%), and currents and raisins (+3.9%).
HOUSING EXPENDITURE CATEGORY 39% of CPI
Within the Housing category, it was noted that four of the five product groups became more expensive and one remained stable. The product groups: ‘Energy expenses’ ‘Maintenance of dwelling’, ‘Garden maintenance’ and ‘Dwelling costs’ increased by +2.8%, +2.3%, +0.6% and +0.4% respectively.
An increase in the consumer price of electricity by 3.4 % largely influenced the total price change within the product group ‘Energy Expenses’, while ‘Maintenance of Dwelling’ was impacted most by paint (+1.8%), wood (+21.5%) blocks, water pipes and faucets (+2.4%) and labour costs (+0.9%).
Transport & Communication
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION EXPENDITURE CATEGORY
20% of CPI
Of the four product groups within the Transport & Communication category, only ‘Vehicle Expenses’ recorded a price change, namely an increase of 0.5%. This group was influenced by engine parts (-1.2%), car tires (-1.8%), mufflers (+6.3%), gasoline (+1.6%) and oil, engine oil, etc. (+3.1%).
Sint Maarten Consumer Price Index a Broader Perspective
Though the trend over the past 3-year period depicts gradual increasing consumer prices, we note that prices have steadily declined during the period August 2015 through to April 2016; this is evident in the bar chart below. However, thereafter up to the current period (October 2017), there is a steady increase of the index, consistently since April 2017. Thus, over the last 3 years, consumer prices have shown some volatility, but seem to be gradually increasing.
The trend line below indicates that inflation on Sint Maarten over the prior 3-year period has been relatively low. It can be noted however, that the rate of inflation since December 2016 has gradually began to increase, recording 1.9% in October 2017.
The 12-month average of consumer prices in October 2017 is 1.9%. This represents an increase of 2.0 percentage points when compared to average prices in the same period last year.
Inflation for the Major Expenditure Categories.
There are nine Household Expenditure Categories used to calculate the CPI. Three of these account for 69% of the total household expenditure: Housing (39%), Transportation & Communication (20%) and Food (10%).
Analysis of the monthly figures of these categories showed that inflation has steadily increased in the Food category from May 2017 to October 2017. The figure of this current period (October 2017) is the highest for the Food category over the past year. It should be highlighted that the average price development in the Housing category from January 2017 to this current period has also recorded a continuous increase in the inflation rate.
Deflation has been maintained in the Transport & Communication category and the figures have been fairly consistent over the past eight months. The monthly developments amongst the three major expenditure categories are illustrated in the bar chart above.