Consumer Price Index Report for First Quarter 2011 Released
"The Cayman Islands’ Consumer Price Report for First Quarter 2011"The general price level in the Cayman Islands, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) went up slightly in the first quarter of the year amidst sharp increases in gasoline prices and electricity rates.
⫿The CPI which stood at 99.2 for the quarter ending March 2011, showed a marginal change of .03 percent compared to the same quarter ending March 2010, and a small increase (0.7%) over the quarter ending December 2010,??? the Hon Premier and Minister of Finance, Mr. Bush, who welcomed the release of the report, noted.
The marginal change in the March 2011 CPI (0.03%) was mainly due to a reduction in actual housing rentals which dropped by 4.3 percent. Housing rentals comprises the highest portion of the CPI basket; hence these offset the sharp increases in prices of other components such as transportation (9.3%), miscellaneous goods and services (2.9%), and food and non-alcoholic beverages (2.7%).
Fuel prices accounted for a significant part of the increase in transportation as well as electricity. The average cost of fuel and electricity rose by 25.8 percent and 14.8 percent respectively during the quarter ending March 2011 compared to the same quarter last year.
Meanwhile, the rise in the food index was driven by overall increases in the prices of meat and meat products (6.8%), fish and seafood (6.0%), vegetables (4.8%), mineral water, soft drinks and juices (4.8%). These increases were slightly offset by a reduction in the prices of fresh fruits.
The Minister of Finance further noted that the first quarter 2011 CPI increased by 0.7 percent compared to the last quarter of 2010 as three divisions posted strong positive changes: restaurant and hotels (3.7%), transport (3.2%) and food and alcoholic beverages (1.7%). On the other hand, the rest of the divisions were either stable or recorded declines.
Meanwhile, fuel-related items rose anew in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter: fuel for transportation went up by 5.1 percent while electricity also rose by 3.4 percent.
With regard to actual housing rentals, this posted the first quarterly increase (3.0%) in March 2011, following a series of quarterly declines from September 2008 to September 2010 and zero movement in December 2010.