Inflation picks up during first quarter

An aerial view of the business area of downtown George Town, Grand Cayman
An aerial view of the business area of downtown George Town, Grand Cayman. – Photo: Chris Court

Cayman’s inflation rate hit 3.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to prices from the first quarter of 2017, according to a recently released report from the Economics and Statistics Office.

Inflation in Cayman has been on the rise recently, reaching an average rate of 2 percent in 2017 after a period of 0.7-percent deflation in 2016.

The rising inflation rate has been attributed to increased global oil prices, as well as a growing population here. The territory had a record 63,415 people living here at the end of 2017.

Cayman’s transport sector saw the largest spike in the first quarter of 2018, with prices rising by 7.5 percent over the first quarter of 2017. Passenger transport by air rose by 21.5 percent, fuels posted an increase of 5.7 percent, and other services in respect to personal transport equipment rose by 3.4 percent, according to the ESO data.

Health sector prices rose by 5.5 percent, largely due to pharmaceutical products increasing by 17.3 percent, the ESO’s report stated. Other medicinal products rose by 10.2 percent, but dental, paramedical and hospital services showed no price movement.

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The food-and-beverage price index moved up by 4.8 percent as a result of a “notable” increase in the price of fruit by 18.1 percent, according to the ESO. A downward movement was observed in tea, coffee and cocoa of 4.5 percent and sugar, sugar confectionary and snacks by 0.4 percent, the ESO added.

Education costs rose by 4.1 percent, driven by 5.6 percent and 5.1 percent increases in primary education and secondary education, respectively.

Household furnishings and equipment prices were 3.7 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2017, with furniture and furnishing costs leading the increase with a 13.7 percent jump.

Housing and utilities costs also increased by 3.1 percent, due in large part to a 16.5 percent increase in electricity costs, the ESO report stated.

The communications pricing index moved up by 1.2 percent due to an increase in the average cost of “telephone and telefax” equipment of 15.1 percent, stated the ESO, adding that there was also a slight decline in telephone and telefax services of 0.1 percent.

Alcohol and tobacco prices increased by 1 percent, with tobacco rising by 2.4 percent. Spirits and alcoholic cordials rose by 1.8 percent, while the price of wine declined by 0.3 percent.

The price of “miscellaneous goods and services” also rose by 1 percent, with jewelry and watch prices increasing by 15.2 percent. Vehicle insurance premiums declined by 1.3 percent, according to the ESO.

Clothing and footwear costs increased by 0.7 percent, while recreation and culture rose by 0.4 percent, the ESO report stated.

The category that posted the smallest increase was restaurants and hotels, rising by 0.2 percent.

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