CSO: Inflation rate unchanged

A shopping cart filled with essential food items at a supermarket in Port of Spain.  - File photo
A shopping cart filled with essential food items at a supermarket in Port of Spain. - File photo

THE inflation rate remained steady for the month of March as compared to February, according to the Central Statistical Office (CSO’s) index of retail prices released on April 18.

The inflation rate, measured by the percentage change in the all items index for the month of March 2024 over March 2023, was 0.8 per cent. It remained unchanged from the same period the month before, but showed a significant decrease from the comparative period, March 2023/March 2022, when it was listed at 7.3 per cent.

The all items index, a figure calculated from prices collected for March 2024, was 123.8, a 0.3 point or two per cent decrease from February.

Non-alcoholic beverages went down from 147.9 in February to 146.2, a 1.2 per cent decrease.

Items such as fresh whole chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, cheddar cheese, table margarine, celery, fresh king fish, plantains, fresh carite and soya bean oil saw general downward movement in prices, while grapes, hot peppers, oranges, melongene, bodi, ochroes, pumpkin, frozen whole chicken, parboiled rice and fruit drinks saw increases.

The price of alcoholic beverages and tobacco increased by 1.1 per cent. Clothing and footwear decreased by 0.2 per cent. All other sections remained unchanged.

FAO: world food prices increase 1%

Globally, higher international quotations for vegetable oils, dairy products and meat push commodity prices up by 1.1 per cent, despite lower quotations for cereals and sugar. This was shared by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN in its food price index released on April 4.

The FAO food price index averaged 118.3 points in March, down 7.7 per cent from the same period the year before.

Vegetable oil prices went up to eight per cent from February, reaching a one-year high, with palm, soy, sunflower and rapeseed oil prices increasing.

Dairy prices increased for the sixth consecutive month, by 2.9 per cent from February. The increases, the FAO said, were due to rising cheese and butter prices.

Meat prices also increased 1.7 per cent month-on-month, with poultry, pig and bovine prices all increasing.

Cereal prices went down by 2.6 per cent, 20 per cent lower than its value in March. The drop was caused by decreasing global prices in exports led by strong export competition and underscored by cancelled purchases by China. Logistical difficulties in the Ukraine led the increase in export prices for corn, while rice prices dipped 1.7 per cent amid lower global demand for imports.

The CSO said on its website that Trinidad and Tobago’s import bill was $4.2 billion for the year ending December 31, 2023. Its review of merchandise trade for the third quarter of the year revealed that cereals and cereal preparations and feed for animals amounted to $149.66 million in imports for the period July-August and $144.09 million from August-September. Imports of feed for animals amounted to $16.91 million for the period July-August and $13.85 million for August-September.


"CSO: Inflation rate unchanged"

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