Consumer prices slightly down in December 2015

St. Maarten News – Consumer prices in Sint Maarten decreased slightly in December 2015 compared to October by 0.3 percent. When comparing average consumer prices over a twelve month period (Dec. 2014 to Dec. 2015), an increase of 0.3 percent was recorded. Inflation has shown an overall decline in 2015 (0.3%) compared to the rate of inflation recorded in 2014 (1.9%). This is also notable in the major expenditure categories; Housing and Transport & Communication, which both recorded significant declines in the rate of inflation approximately 187% and 136% respectively compared to that of 2014; whilst the major expenditure category Food recorded inflation of approximately 10 percent higher than that of 2014. Most notably is that four of the nine expenditure categories recorded deflation in December 2015, which largely contributed to the significantly lower annual inflation rate for 2015. This is evident from the data released by the Department of Statistics (STAT).

The consumer price index for Sint Maarten has decreased in the month of December 2015 by 0.3 percent compared to that of October 2015. The price index recorded in December 2015 is 126.4.

In December 2015, six of the nine expenditure categories have become marginally less expensive, whilst two recorded increases and one remained stable. Amongst the more expensive were the categories; Food (+0.7%) and Recreation & Education (+0.2%). Whereas the expenditure categories Beverages and Tobacco, Clothing and Footwear, Housing, Household Furnishing & Appliances, Transport & Communication and Miscellaneous recorded the following decreases; 0.2%, 2.7%, 0.2%, 0.1%, 0.8%, and 0.2% respectively.

Within the expenditure category Food, it can be noted that only two of the nine food groups became less expensive whilst seven became more expensive. The following developments were recorded in each food group; Grain (+0.5%), Meat and Fish (+0.9%), Fats & Oils (-0.9%), Dairy Products (+1.4%), Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruit (+1.2%), Sugar & Chocolate (+2.6%), Pre-cooked dishes (-2.2%), Eating-out (+0.4%) and other food resources (+0.3%). More specifically the following products largely influenced the total price change within the food groups: The food group Grain was largely influenced by the products white bread (-1.8%) and Pasta (+3.3%). The food group Meat & Fish, was largely influenced by oxtail (+7.8%), spareribs (+3.1%), pork meat with & without bone (+2.2%), pig tail (- 12.2%), goat meat (-9.8%), Chicken (-1.9%) and other poultry (-7.6%). The food group Dairy Products was largely influenced by; powdered milk (-1.3%) and eggs (-6.9%). The food group Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruit was largely influenced by; leafy greens (+20.5%), cabbage (26.3%), bell peppers / paprika (-5.5%), misc. fruit vegetables (+6.3%), frozen vegetables (-7.8%), other fresh vegetables (+30.4%), grapes and prunes (-3.4%), citrus fruit (+6.3%), other fresh fruit (+7.7%) and raisins (+3.7%).

Within the expenditure category Housing, it is noted that three of the five product groups became marginally less expensive whilst one remained stable. The product groups; Energy expenses, Garden maintenance and Maintenance of dwelling decreased by 2.8%, 0.6%, 0.6% respectively. A decrease in the consumer price of electricity by -2.3% largely influenced the total price change within the product group Energy expenses. The product group Maintenance of dwelling was largely influenced by the change recorded in the price of Paint (-0.7%) and roof materials (+13.9%).

Within the expenditure category Transport & Communication, one of the four product groups became less expensive, whilst the others remained stable. Noteworthy is that the product group Vehicle Expenses was largely influenced by the following products; tires (-2.1%), Gasoline (-18.4%) and Diesel (-15.1%).

Consumer prices in 2015 are generally at a higher level than 3 years ago. An increasing trend is shown, with consumer prices in December 2015 being 4.6 points above that of December 2012. However the rate of increase has slowed to the point of declining prices; evident in the point to point comparison between the period December 2015 and December 2012 with changes of 3.3 points and 1.5 points and now -0.2 points. Noticeable are the fluctuations recorded during the period October 2014 and August 2015 which was followed by a more gradually decreasing index figure towards the latter part of 2015.

The annual inflation recorded on Sint Maarten over the past 20 years has been extremely volatile; ranging from less than 1 percent in some years to over 4.5 percent in others. Still noticeable is the continuous and consistently declining inflation recorded over the last 5- years. Notable is that the rate of inflation recorded in 2015 is the lowest over the last 20 year period. The trend line depicted on the bar chart below indicates that inflation on Sint Maarten over the prior 3-year period has been steadily descending. The rate of inflation contracted from 4.0 percent in December 2012 and 2.5 percent in December 2013, to 1.9 percent in December 2014 and now a mere 0.3 percent in December 2015. The recorded level of inflation started its descent since mid-2012 and has continued to fall steadily throughout 2015.

Inflation Sint Maarten December 2015 The 12-month average of consumer prices was 0.3 percent higher in December 2015 than a year earlier. This represents a decrease in the inflation rate of 84 percent within this period mentioned. Inflation per Expenditure Category Only three expenditure categories recorded inflation in December 2015. Foo’ prices inflated at a rate of 7.0 percent whilst Housing and Transportation & Communication recorded deflation at a rate of 1.7 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.

The annual inflation recorded amongst the major expenditure categories Housing (39%), Transport & Communication (20%) and Food (10%) over the past 7-year period is depicted in the bar chart below. Noteworthy is that food inflation recorded much instability as opposed to the other major expenditure categories. Yet equally notable is the rate of inflation recorded for the expenditure category Food, has shown more stability over the last three years compared the 4-year period prior. Striking is that both the expenditure categories Housing and Transport & Communication which accounts for 59 percent of household expenditure has recorded deflation in 2015.

Source: Today SXM Consumer prices slightly down in December 2015