Data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) show the inflation rate, or the rate of price increases, for May 2007 at 0.7 per cent, the same as the level registered for the month before.
While this is slightly higher that the 0.5 per cent recorded in March this year, the net result is that the inflation rate for the first five months of 2007 is 2.3 per cent. If this rate holds to the end of the year, the annual inflation outturn for 2007 would be 5.5 per cent. With Jamaica having recorded an inflation rate of 5.8 per cent in 2006, the projection at current levels is even lower inflation in 2007 than 2006.
In January Jamaica registered a monthly inflation of 0.3 per cent while STATIN reports that this was followed by 0.2 per cent in February.
Looking at the annual figures, except for 2001 and 2003 the country’s inflation rate has gone down every year since 1995. The current annual inflation rate is the lowest levels of price increases the country has experienced in 30 years.
The relatively low price rise in May resulted from very little movement in the price of the food and drinks, which, as a group rose less than 1 per cent on average during the month. Items such as food and drink have a significant impact on the overall inflation rate.
While housing-related expense rose by 2.6% in May 2006 – the most dramatic increase of any category of expense during the month – this did not have a significant impact on the overall monthly inflation. This is because housing expenses do not have a large impact on the overall inflation rate.