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Bahamians paying slightly more for basic goods and services

The prices Bahamians are paying for basic goods and services increased once again as the Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) reported that average consumer prices rose by 1.1 percentage points during the first quarter of 2019, and inflation accelerated to 2.9 percent at the end of March.

The marginal increase far outpaces the 0.3 percent increase in prices recorded for the first quarter of 2018, which the central bank said reflects the continued pass-through effects of the rise in the value-added tax (VAT) rate last July.

“Underlying this development, average costs firmed for transport by 5.2 percent and furnishing, household equipment & routine maintenance by 3.5 percent, after posting declines of 1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, in the prior period. Further, in contrast to the prior year’s decreases of 1.9 percent and 0.3 percent, average prices rose for alcohol beverages, tobacco & narcotics, by 1.1 percent and food & non-alcoholic beverages, by 0.7 percent,” the central bank’s Quarterly Economic Review highlighted.

“In addition, the inflation rate quickened for miscellaneous goods & services, by 30 basis points to 0.6 percent, while the reduction in average costs softened for communication, by 2.3 percentage points and clothing & footwear, by 0.8 percentage points, to 0.3 percent each.”

The cost of furniture and transportation is expected to decline as a result of the government lowering the duty on all household furniture to 25 percent from 45 percent, and on new vehicles between 1.5 liters and two liters valued $50,000 or less to 45 percent from 65 percent.

The increases were offset by the modest decrease in the costs Bahamians and visitors pay for restaurants and hotels, which decreased by 2 percent; and for housing, water, gas, electricity & other fuels — the most heavily weighted component — the price of which dipped 0.7 percent.

“Despite the uptrend in international oil prices, domestic energy costs declined during the first quarter. Specifically, the average price of gasoline contracted by 13.1 percent to $4.24 per gallon over the three-month period, and fell by 5.1 percent in comparison to the same period of 2018. Similarly, diesel costs declined by 8.3 percent to $4.25 per gallon; however, on an annual basis, the average price edged-up by 1 percent,” CBOB noted.

Paige McCartney

Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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