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Consumer prices increase

Average consumer prices increased by 1.2 percent from March 2017 to March 2018, The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) said in its June Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) report. The report pegged the rise in global energy prices as the reason for the increase.

According to the report, the increase outpaced the 0.5 percent increase in consumer prices in a year-on-year comparison. These continuing increases will be added to the reported increase in consumer costs as a result of government’s 4.5 percent increase in the value-added tax rate.

“This development mainly reflected an uptick in the retail price index for housing, water, gas and electricity — the highest weighted segment — by 3.2 percent, surpassing the 0.8 percent gain in the prior year,” the MEFD said.

“Further, the average cost of communication was also higher; while increases for restaurant and hotels, recreation and culture, transport and food and non-alcoholic items, contrasted with declines in the previous year. Smaller average gains were estimated for health, and alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics, while the remaining items in the index decreased on average.”

The MEFD added that global trade disputes that are continuing to escalate could lead to higher costs due to higher import costs and weaker tourist demand.

According to the MEFD, the increase in oil prices on the global market hit mostly in the way of fuel costs, “particularly in the long-term analysis”.

The Central Bank said average gasoline prices increased by 3.5 percent in May to $4.68 per gallon. To date gasoline prices stand at $4.94 on average. The MEFD said, however, that diesel prices declined by 3.0 percent to $4.24 per gallon. compared to last year when prices for diesel and gasoline increased by 11.6 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

According to the MEFD, crude oil prices continued to increase in June moving by 2.4 percent to $79.44 per barrel, “despite an increase in OPEC’s oil production by 173 thousand barrels per day to 32.3 million barrels per day — the highest since January 2018”.


Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
Central Bank: Vacati
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