Average prices in the Cayman Islands went up by 1.9 percent last year, according to the consumer price index for 2017. The latest CPI report by the Economics and Statistics Office shows that prices increased in all four quarters ranging from 1.4 percent to 2.8 percent.
Consumer prices are assessed based on the costs of selected goods and services in Cayman and weighted depending on their estimated impact on household bills. The 1.9 percent overall inflation rate in 2017 is traced to the price uptrends in most price categories except for education, which declined 3.2 percent, and the cost of hotel accommodation, which fell 4.3 percent.
Among the various items, transport costs were responsible for the highest price increases (4.9 percent) for the year. In particular, the cost of airfares jumped on average by 31.8 percent in the last quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2016. However, the average price of motor vehicles declined by 5.7 percent.
The price index for housing and utilities, which make up the highest weight in the CPI basket, rose on average by 2.6 percent in 2017. Household Furnishings and Equipment, another price driver, increased 5.7 percent in the last quarter.
Meanwhile, the cost of health saw a 5-percent rise in the index, driven in particular by prices for pharmaceutical products, which moved up by 17.4 percent and other medicinal products, which rose by 8.1 percent.
The cost of food increased marginally by 1.3 percent during the year. Dairy products and eggs led the price inflation with an increase of 7.2 percent, followed by fruits (6.5 percent), oils and fats (5.7 percent), and vegetables (4.3 percent). In contrast mineral waters, soft drinks, and fruit and vegetable juices declined by 4.5 percent and tea, coffee and cocoa by 4.4 percent.
Recreation and Culture is another CPI category that registered a decline of 0.7 percent as several groups showed falling average prices led by books which fell by 30.7 percent.