Inflation takes hold: Higher costs for fuel and healthcare

The Consumer Price Index for the third quarter of this year increased by 2.6 per cent compared with the third quarter of 2010, as a result of sharp increases in the cost of transportation, health and food, a report released by the Cayman Islands Economics and Statistics Office states. 

“The inflation in the third quarter was spurred by changes in the average cost of operation of personal transport equipment (13.1 per cent) and transport services (9.4 per cent). These were directly related to the cost of fuel, which recorded an average increase of 21.9 per cent,” Premier McKeeva Bush said.  

Gasoline prices in the Cayman Islands have continuously risen since June 2009, generally in line with the development of crude oil prices.  

However, more recently fuel cost increases in the Cayman Islands have been increasingly out of synch with the price of oil. In part, this is due to an increase by 25 cents per gallon in fuel duty in July of 2010.  

But a significant fall in the price of crude oil between May and September 2011 has so far not translated into lower gas prices in Cayman, even after the usual delay of two months.  

In addition to fuel related prices, the cost of health services went up by 8.4 per cent due to price changes for outpatient services (11.9 per cent) and hospital services (1.1 per cent). This was only slightly offset by a 0.5 per cent price decline for medical products, appliances and equipment. 

Food and non-alcoholic beverages were another price driver growing on average by 4 per cent compared with one year ago. Fish and seafood (11.4 per cent), mineral water, soft drinks, fruit and vegetable juices (7.4 per cent) and dairy products and eggs (7.1 per cent) saw the largest price increases. 

On a quarterly basis, the third quarter 2011 CPI increased by 0.5 percent compared with the second quarter of 2011. In particular, the cost of healthcare has risen sharply by 7 per cent between June and September, driven by higher costs for the provision of outpatient services (10.1 per cent). 

Compared with the previous quarter, household equipment, such as glassware, tableware and household utensils, also grew by 1.3 per cent. 

Lower prices for telephone and other communications equipment (-24.5 per cent) only slightly offset the general inflation trend. 

oil energy price

Gasoline prices in the Cayman Islands have continuously risen since June 2009, generally in line with the development of crude oil prices. – Graphic: Michael Klein

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