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The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting that the inflation rate for December 2021 was 0.8 per cent.

Director General, Carol Coy, said that this was due mainly due to a 4.7 per cent 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), Ms. Coy said the spike in the index largely resulted from increased electricity, water and sewerage rates.

She pointed out, however, the December out-turn was tempered by a 0.5 per cent 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 per cent. This was primarily attributed to the 5.6 per cent fall in the class – ‘Vegetables, Tubers, Plantains, Cooking Bananas and Pulses’,” the Director General noted.

She indicated that surplus in some agricultural produce resulted in lower prices for items such as tomato, lettuce, cabbage, and yam.

Ms. Coy told journalists that the point-to-point inflation rate, between December 2020 and December 2021, was 7.3 per cent.

This, she explained, was influenced by increases for ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels’, up 11.7 per cent; ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’, up 4.9 per cent; and Tran sport, up 13.9 per cent.

“The main contributor to the rise in the index of the division ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ was a 23.6 per cent 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.

Ms. Coy informed that the index for ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ was impacted by increases of 13 per cent and 13.8 per cent 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 per cent, mainly due to increased supplies of agricultural produce, which led to lower prices,” she added.

Ms. Coy advised that the ‘Transport’ division was mainly impacted by higher cost for ‘Passenger Transport Services’, which increased by 12.7 per cent.

This, she pointed out, was attributed to a 15 per cent 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 per cent due to increased fuel cost.

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