Consumer prices increase for first time since 2014

Rent in Cayman is higher this year, and so are school fees. The cost of hotels, restaurants, recreational activities and phone service all went up.

Among other increases, the average price for a box of cornflakes increased by 24 cents.

Meanwhile, the price of a gallon of gas dropped an average of 59 cents between September 2015 and this year.

The Consumer Price Index, a measure of prices people pay for goods and living expenses in the Cayman Islands, increased overall by half a percent in the third quarter over the year, according to a report from the Economics and Statistics Office.

This is the first time the ESO has reported inflation in the Cayman Islands since the last quarter of 2014. The inflation rate is based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.

A chart of the inflation rate for the Cayman Islands shows prices have increased for the first time since 2014. – Source: Economics and Statistics Office

Falling oil prices over the past two years had the biggest impact on prices, according to the ESO.

Comparing September prices to the year before, restaurant and hotel costs jumped 6.6 percent. The ESO report states that the increase is “mainly due to the sharp increases of 8.7 percent in the accommodation services price index and 6.3 percent in catering services.”

Prices for the restaurant and hotel sector increased significantly between the second and third quarters of this year, up almost 8 percent. Hotel prices on their own went up almost 25 percent between June and September.

Housing and utilities, which account for about two-fifths of average consumer spending in Cayman, went up more than 5 percent between June and September, led by an 8 percent jump in rental costs.

Compared to the year before, 2016 housing costs increased by half a percent. Rent went up an average of 6.5 percent; home maintenance and repair increased 7.8 percent. Utility prices in September dropped significantly from last year, with water prices dropping about 13 percent and electricity, gas and other fuels down by 18.4 percent.

The ESO collects price data from retailers and other sources every quarter, and every month for selected items such as fruits and vegetables, meats and gas.

According to the ESO’s “basket of goods,” prices in the grocery store have been fairly stable. The ESO publishes a list of 26 common items with the average price from across the islands’ grocery stores.

The biggest change is for a dozen grade A large eggs, dropping from an average $4.46 last year to $2.79 this year. A pound of plantains increased by 4 cents.

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