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  • The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting that the 2019 calendar year inflation, rounded out at 6.2 per cent.
  • This, following a 0.5 per cent outturn for December, Director General, Carol Coy, has said, while advising that the rate, to date, for the 2019/20 fiscal year is 5.5 per cent.
  • She was speaking during STATIN’s quarterly briefing at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Friday (January 17).

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting that the 2019 calendar year inflation, rounded out at 6.2 per cent.

This, following a 0.5 per cent outturn for December, Director General, Carol Coy, has said, while advising that the rate, to date, for the 2019/20 fiscal year is 5.5 per cent.

She was speaking during STATIN’s quarterly briefing at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Friday (January 17).

Ms. Coy said the main factors contributing to the index for December were movements in – ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels’, up 1.5 per cent; and ‘Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages’, up 0.5 per cent.

She advised that the movement in Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels’ was due mainly to higher electricity, sewage and water rates.

“The increase for the heaviest weighted division – ‘Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ – was mostly as a result of higher prices for vegetables, as reflected in the 0.7 per cent increase in the index for the class ‘Vegetables & Starchy Foods, and the 0.5 per cent increase in the index for ‘Meat’,” Ms. Coy added.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) said the calendar year inflation outturn represents a “sharp increase”, relative to the 3.4 per cent recorded in September 2019.

“This inflation outturn was not anticipated and was higher than [the] Bank of Jamaica’s target of 4.0 to 6.0 per cent,” the BOJ said in a statement on Friday (January 17).

The Central Bank concurred with STATIN in noting that this outcome was primarily influenced by “faster” increases in food and energy-related prices in the consumer price index (CPI).

“The heavily weighted Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages division of the CPI increased over the year to December by 10.7 per cent, when compared with 6.7 per cent [in] September 2019. This was primarily related to higher prices for vegetables and starchy foods, the consequence of adverse weather conditions (drought followed by heavy rains) that affected the island between June and October 2019,” the BOJ noted, while also highlighting reports of crop-related diseases affecting some items.

The Central Bank said the higher rates for electricity and water reflected in the Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels category was partly related to increases in international oil prices in the December 2019 quarter.

“This division increased over the year to December to 1.5 per cent, compared with a decline of 3.2 per cent at September 2019,” the BOJ pointed out.

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