PHILIPSBURG - The consumer price index for Sint Maarten has decreased in the month of April 2015 by 1.0 percent compared to that of February 2015.
When comparing average consumer prices over a twelve month period (Apr. 2014 to Apr. 2015), an increase of 1.5 percent was recorded compared to the same period one year earlier. This is evident from the data released by the Sint Maarten Department of Statistics (STAT) today.
Price changes between April & February 2015
The consumer price index for Sint Maarten has decreased in the month of April 2015 by 1.0 percent compared to that of February 2015. The price index recorded in April 2015 is 126.3.
Expenditure Categories – overall modest increases
In April 2015, four of the nine expenditure categories became cheaper, whilst three became more expensive and one remained unchanged. Amongst the more expensive were the categories; ‘Food’ (+1.3%), ‘Household Furnishing & Appliances’ (+1.7%) and ‘Medical Care’ (+0.3%). Whereas decreases were recorded for the expenditure categories ‘Clothing and Footwear’, ‘Housing’, ‘Transport & Communication’, ‘Recreation & Education’ and ‘Miscellaneous’; -0.3%, -1.2%, -4.7%, -0.3% and -0.3% respectively. The expenditure category ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ remained unchanged.
Within the expenditure category Food, it can be noted that eight of the nine food groups became more expensive whilst one became cheaper. The following food groups recorded increases; Grain (+0.7%), Meat and Fish (+1.0%), Fats & Oils (+0.1%), Dairy Products (+1.6%), Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruit (+2.4%), Pre-cooked dishes (+4.8%), Eating-out (+0.4%) and other food resources (+1.2%). Whilst the food group Sugar & Chocolate (-0.1%), became slightly cheaper.
More specifically the following products largely influenced the total price change within the food groups: ‘Grain’ was largely influenced by other small breads (-3.5%) and pasta (+4.8%). ‘Meat & Fish’, was largely influenced by Oxtail (+30.6%), spareribs (-4.7%), pork meat without bone (-2.4%), pork meat (-36.7%), beef (+4.3%), ham (-7.4%) fish; i.e. cod, tilapia, marlin, kingfish, etc. (+10.8%), shrimp (+13.5%), salted & dried fish (+15.8%) and other fish (+1.2%). The food group ‘Dairy Products’ was largely influenced by; Yoghurt (+16.1%), ice cream (-4.2%), cheese (+31.9%) baby powdered Milk (+6.3%), canned milk (+3.5%) and eggs (-5.0%). The food group ‘Potatoes, Vegetables & Fruit’ was largely influenced by; potatoes (+13.3%), leafy greens (10.5%), green beans (+41.9%), spices (+3.2%), onions (-5.1%), bell peppers (+28.3), apples & pears (+3.5%) and other citrus fruit (-8.5%).
Within the expenditure category Housing, it is noted that two of the five product groups became more expensive whilst one remained stable and two became cheaper. The product groups; ‘Dwelling costs’ and ‘Garden maintenance’ increased by 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively, whilst ‘Maintenance of dwelling’ and ‘Energy expenses’ decreased by 1.0% and 7.9%, respectively. A decrease in the consumer price of electricity by 9.7% largely influenced the total price change within the product group ‘Energy expenses’
Transport & Communication
Within the expenditure category Transport & Communication only the product group ‘Vehicle Expenses’ recorded a price change, namely a decrease of 16 percent. The following products largely influenced this price change: mufflers (-5.8%), motor oil (-6.7%), car parts (+3.5%), gasoline (-36.5%) and diesel (-3.4%).
Sint Maarten Consumer Price Index a Broader Perspective
Consumer prices in 2015 are generally at a higher level than 3 years ago (see bar chart below). An increasing trend is shown, with consumer prices in April 2015 being 4.8 points above that of April 2012.
Over the last 3 years; consumer prices though increasing, have shown slower growth; with year to year increases of 2.3, 2.3 and 0.3 points. Notable are the more fluctuating development in consumer prices recorded during the period October 2014 to April 2015.
The trend line below indicates that inflation on Sint Maarten over the prior 3-year period has been declining. The rate of inflation reached a peak rate of 5.5 percent in April 2012. However since then, inflation has steadily declined to a rate of 1.5 percent in April 2015.The 12-month average of consumer prices was 1.5 percent higher in April 2015 than a year earlier. This represents a decrease in the inflation rate of 37.5 percent within this period mentioned.
Inflation per Expenditure Category
Seven of the nine expenditure categories recorded inflation in April 2015. ‘Housing’ at a rate of +0.9 percent, whilst ‘Transportation and Communication’ recorded deflation of -1.3 percent and ‘Food’ prices saw inflation of +6.7 percent. Noteworthy is the steady deflation recorded in the expenditure category ‘Transportation and Communication’ since mid-2014.