Consumer prices increased by 1.9 percent from 2016 to 2017

Cayman Compass is the Cayman Islands' most trusted news website. We provide you with the latest breaking news from the Cayman Islands, as well as other parts of the Caribbean.
Cayman Compass is the Cayman Islands' most-trusted news website. We provide you with the latest breaking news from the Cayman Islands, as well as other parts of the Caribbean.

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.

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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.

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  1. No news of cost-of-living increase is good. However, in some cases our Government’s policies and practices directly contribute to higher consumer costs in Cayman. One example, which I recently experienced is a as follows:
    For many years, Government paid private garages to conduct vehicle inspections – $30 per inspection – which a vehicle owner would then pay to the DVL (DMV) when licensing the vehicle. Recently, apparently without much notification to the public, Government no longer pays the garages. So, without prior knowledge of this change, I had my car inspected at a garage which charged me $30 and when I went to the DVL inspection Unit I had to pay another 30 for “inspection”. So, without expecting, I – and every other vehicle owner who has a vehicle inspected at a private garage – will now pay 100% more for vehicle inspections. Of course, that leaves the option of doing the inspection solely at the DVL facilities and losing a considerable amount of time waiting in long lines.

    Other examples of Government “inflating” the cost of living is the “repatriation fee” related to work-permit applications (my experience relates to domestic helpers), which is non-refundable, non-transferable to another application and simply disappears into Government coffers, and of course the many fees required for various processes in over-regulated but under-managed Government departments.