Consumer prices overall declined by 1.6% in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year, mainly due to lower electricity, water and gas bills and the falling cost of transport. Since the second quarter of 2020, prices dropped by 0.8%.
Five of the 12 categories that make up the consumer price index recorded lower prices.
However, Cayman’s consumers will have noticed that the cost of rental accommodation has not yet budged, even though there are approximately 7,000 fewer residents on island than last year and demand should have diminished significantly.
Buying groceries, eating out in restaurants and purchasing a motor vehicle were also on average more expensive than in the third quarter of 2019.
Year-on-year, consumers saw lower prices in the third quarter for electricity (-24.6%), water (-15.3%) and gas (-2.2%). Transport costs declined following a 14.1% drop in fuel prices.
While the maintenance costs for properties have also fallen (-3.2%), actual rents paid by tenants continued to rise by 4.8%. Compared to the second quarter of 2020, rents remained flat, according to CPI figures released by the Economics and Statistics Office.
Many other deflationary items in the basket of goods and services used to determine overall prices were tourism related. Package holidays abroad, air travel and local holiday accommodation all dropped significantly in price.
But that is hardly helping the average consumer, who had to pay about 5.5% more for food and non-alcoholic beverages than in the third quarter of 2019. Oils and fats (up 16.5%); milk, cheese and eggs (12.5%); and fruit (6%) were the biggest price drivers compared to last year. However, compared to the second quarter of 2020, prices in these categories have dropped slightly.
Meanwhile, prices climbed in most other categories, with the cost of communication (6.6%), household furnishings and appliances (2.4%), healthcare (2.2%) and education (1.7%) all rising compared to last year.