Consumer prices St. Maarten went up almost 5 per cent in 2011


PHILIPSBURG--The Department of Statistics reported that the consumer price index for St. Maarten decreased in December 2011, by 0.3 per cent compared to October 2011.

Although generally prices showed a dip when comparing these two months in 2011, when looking at average consumer prices over a 12 month period (December 2010 to December 2011) an increase of 4.6 per cent was recorded, when compared to the same period a year earlier. The price index recorded in December 2011 is 117.5.

In December 2011, six of the nine expenditure categories became more expensive, while three became cheaper.
Among the more expensive were the categories were Food (+1.2 per cent), Beverage and Tobacco (+ 0.6 per cent), Clothing and Footwear (+ 0. 7per cent), Transport and Communication (+0.3 per cent), Recreation and Education (+0.6 per cent) and Miscellaneous (+0.4 per cent).

Whereas in the categories Housing (-1.6 per cent), Household furnishing and appliances (-0.1 per cent) and Medical Care (-0.5 per cent) became cheaper. Noteworthy is that the price increases per category were all below 1 per cent, except food which was slightly above.

The categories with the largest influence in the basket are Food (10 per cent), Housing (39 per cent) and Transport and Communication (20 per cent). In December 2011 the expenditure category Housing impacted the overall index the most with a significant decline (-1.6 per cent) in consumer prices of this category. Even though the expenditure category Food has the third largest weight factor, it recorded the second largest price increase (+1.2 per cent) in December compared to October 2011.

Within the expenditure category Food it can be noted that eight of the nine food groups became more expensive, while two food groups became cheaper. Amongst the more expensive were the food groups Grain (+ 2.4 per cent), Meat and Fish (+ 0.4 per cent), Fats and Oils (+ 3.7 per cent), Dairy Products (+ 5.0 per cent), Sugar and Chocolate (+1.5 per cent), Pre-cooked dishes (+0.1 per cent), Eating-out (+0.4 per cent) and other food resources (+1.2 per cent). Whilst in the food group Potatoes, Vegetables and Fruit a price reduction of -0.3 per cent was recorded.

More specifically the following products largely influenced the total price change within the food group: Grains largely influenced by Pasta (+7.6 per cent), Cereal (+2.5 per cent) and Flour (+8.2 per cent). The food group Meat and Fish was largely influenced by Beef (+14.7 per cent), Spare ribs (+ 4.3 per cent), Pork Meat (+25.3 per cent), Goat Meat (+ 14.2 per cent), Chicken and Chicken Organs (-2.1 per cent), Fish (+25 per cent) and other Fish (- 10.8 per cent).

The food group Fats and Oils was largely influenced by; Cooking oil (+4.8 per cent). The food group Dairy Products was largely influenced by; Canned Milk (+3.3 per cent), Powder Milk (+10.3 per cent), Ice cream (+14.3 per cent) and Eggs (+4.7 per cent). The food group Potatoes, Vegetables and Fruit was largely influenced by Potatoes (-4.2 per cent), Onions and Garlic (-13.4 per cent), Tomatoes (-8.5 per cent), Paprika (-8.8 per cent), Fresh Spices and Herbs (+19.6 per cent), Apples and pears (+3.9 per cent) and Grapes (+5.1 per cent).

Within the expenditure category Housing it was noted that three of the five product groups became more expensive whilst one remain unchanged and one became cheaper. Although the product groups Dwelling costs (+0.4 per cent), and House maintenance (+0.1 per cent), Garden maintenance (+ 7.7per cent) became more expensive it must be emphasized that the decrease in Energy expenses (-9.0 per cent) had an overall more significant effect on this expenditure category.

More specifically it must be noted that the products Electricity (-10.8 per cent) largely influenced the total price percentage change recorded in the product group Energy Usage. Note that this decline is directly related to a Christmas special rate implemented by GEBE, the overall impact of this product on the consumer budget and total index is approximately 0.05 per cent.