By Douglas McIntosh
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting that the inflation rate for December 2021 was 0.8 percent. Director-General, Carol Coy, said that this was due mainly due to a 4.7 percent increase in the index for the division – ‘housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels’.
Speaking during STATIN’s digital quarterly media briefing on Monday, January 17, Coy said the spike in the index largely resulted from increased electricity, water and sewerage rates.
She pointed out, however, the December 2021 out-turn was tempered by a 0.5 percent decline in the heaviest weighted division – ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’.
“For the second consecutive month, the index for the group, ‘Food’ – declined, moving down by 0.6 percent. This was primarily attributed to the 5.6 percent fall in the class – ‘vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses’.” The director-general indicated that surplus in some agricultural produce resulted in lower prices for items such as tomato, lettuce, cabbage, and yam.
Coy told journalists that the point-to-point inflation rate, between December 2020 and December 2021, was 7.3 percent. This, she explained, was influenced by increases for ‘housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels’, up 11.7 percent; ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’, up 4.9 percent; and transport, up 13.9 percent.
“The main contributor to the rise in the index of the division ‘housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ was a 23.6 percent increase in the index for the class – ‘electricity, gas and other fuels’. This was due to higher rates for electricity over the period,” she further outlined.
Coy informed that the index for ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ was impacted by increases of 13 percent and 13.8 percent respectively for the categories ‘cereals and cereal products’ and ‘meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals’.
“These increases largely resulted from higher grain prices on the international market, as well as the impact of increased shipping costs. However, moderating these movements was the class ‘vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses’, which declined by 11 percent, mainly due to increased supplies of agricultural produce, which led to lower prices,” she added.
Coy advised that the ‘transport’ division was mainly impacted by higher cost for ‘passenger transport services’, which increased by 12.7 percent.
This, she pointed out, was attributed to a 15 percent increase in bus, route taxi and hackney carriage fares granted in August, as well as ‘operation of personal transport equipment’, which rose by 19.8 percent due to increased fuel cost.