Cost of living marginally rose for March 2023, influenced mainly by a 0.8 per cent increase in the index for the food and non-alcoholic beverages division, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica has said.
The increase in the index for the food and non-alcoholic beverages division was due to higher prices for agricultural produce such as cabbage, Irish potato and sweet potato, which contributed to the 2.5 per cent increase in the index for the class: vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses.
The change was attributed mainly to lower supplies of some agricultural produce resulting from dry weather conditions.
The rise in the CPI was also influenced by the 1.1 per cent increase in the index for the restaurants and accommodation services division resulting from higher prices for meals consumed away from home.
The inflation rate for March was, however, tempered by a 1.8 per cent fall in the index for the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels division and a 0.2 per cent decline in that of the ‘Transport’ division.
The movement in the former division was due to lower electricity, water and sewage rates, while the latter division was impacted by lower petrol prices.
Overall, the consumer price index increased by 0.1 per cent at the end of March. The point-to-point inflation rate (March 2022 – March 2023) was 6.2 per cent. Annualised inflation at 6.2 per cent for March 2023 is down from 7.8 per cent in February, marking Jamaica’s lowest inflation movement since August 2021.
STATIN said Jamaica’s point-to-point inflation rate of 6.2 per cent was mainly influenced by the food and non-alcoholic beverages (10.1 per cent) and restaurants and accommodations services (16.9 per cent) divisions.
These upward movements were, however, tempered by a 1.9 per cent decline in the index for the group housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.