The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting that the inflation rate for May was 0.1 per cent.
Speaking during STATIN’s quarterly digital media briefing on Wednesday (July 15), the agency’s Director General, Carol Coy, said the out-turn was largely driven by a 1.1 per cent increase in the heavily weighted ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’ category of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month.
She noted that higher prices for agricultural produce, such as cabbage, lettuce and potato, resulted in the index for the class ‘vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses’ increasing by 2.3 per cent.
Additionally, the Director General said a 1.5 per cent increase was recorded in the index ‘Housing, water, and electricity, gas and other fuels’ division.
“This was mainly due to a 5.6 per cent upward movement in the index for the group – ‘Electricity, gas and other fuels’. This group was impacted by higher electricity rates for the month,” she noted.
Ms. Coy indicated that increases were also recorded in the categories of alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics – up 0.6 per cent; clothing and footwear – up 0.4 per cent; furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance – up 0.6 per cent; health, and recreation, sport and culture – up 0.2 per cent; and personal care, social protection and miscellaneous goods – up 0.8 per cent.
She advised, however, that the overall rate of inflation was moderated by decreases in the indices for the education and transport divisions.
“The index for education fell by 22.1 per cent, primarily influenced by a decrease in private tuition fees for the summer term. The index for the transport division decreased by 0.3 per cent,” Ms. Coy outlined, adding that lower petrol prices contributed to the latter out-turn.
The CPI measures the price movements for consumer goods and services purchased by private households and is one of the most widely used indicators for measuring inflation.
A new CPI series was introduced for the April 2020 consumer expenditure bulletin. The goods and commodities included in the new CPI basket and the associated weights for each item are based on the 2017 household expenditure survey.
Ms. Coy said the CPI was revised to identify new commodities that have entered or left the market, account for quality changes in products, and capture changes in consumer expenditure patterns for goods and services.
She indicated that the price reference period for the new basket is the 2019 calendar year; the previous series covered calendar year 2006.
“The new CPI series reflects the expenditure patterns of the low- to middle-income households in Jamaica,” Ms. Coy pointed out.