Following duty increases last September, smokers were the main victims of price increases in the Cayman Islands during the past year. The cost of tobacco products jumped 51.3 per cent.
Overall prices in the Cayman Islands increased by 1.4 per cent in the 12 months from March 2012 to March 2013, according to the latest consumer price index figures from the government’s Economics and Statistics Office.
The higher cost of tobacco, alcohol, clothing, food and household equipment was largely offset by a decline in housing and energy costs.
Clothing was the second highest price driver with an increase of 9 per cent, followed by household equipment (7 per cent), alcohol (5.4 per cent) and food and non-alcoholic beverages (3.3 per cent).
Among the food products, vegetables (8.3 per cent), coffee, tea and cocoa (7.4 per cent) and fruits (5.4 per cent) were the biggest price movers.
Meanwhile, health services only showed a modest increase.
The increases were balanced by falling prices in other areas. The cost of housing and utilities, which make up more than a third of the basket of goods and services used for the consumer price index, dropped by 0.6 per cent.
Rental prices for accommodation and imputed rentals for owner-occupied housing continued their slide, falling another 2.4 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively, during the past 12 months.
Electricity, gas and other fuels, which had pushed prices up for most of the year, saw costs collapse by 11.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 to finish the year up only 0.8 per cent.
The decline followed, with some delay, the stabilisation of crude oil prices at under $100 per barrel in the US market since May 2012.