CIG stats predict rising cost of living

| 04/09/2017 | 52 Comments

(CNS): The economic forecast the government presented in its recent strategic policy statement offers a stable picture for growth in the local economy and a fall in unemployment. But the inflation indicators warn that ordinary people could be in for a tougher time. If wages don’t go up over the next three years, workers at the lower end of the socio-economic status may not benefit as much as government is suggesting from the ‘trickle down’ of a steady economy and could find themselves even worse off than they are now.

The government has forecast that gross domestic product will grow by 2.1% before the end of this year, 2.4% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019 before the growth rate drops to 2% in 2020. Unemployment is also expected to fall over the next three years, from 4.3% this year down to 3.5% by 2020.

But the positive economic growth here will fuel price increases, which experts predict will be compounded by economic growth in the US, where Cayman buys almost all its consumer goods. The Consumer Price Index will increase from 1.8% this year to a high of 2.6% in 2019 before it falls back slightly to 2.4% in 2020. If wages, including those in the civil service, don’t keep pace, then recent salary increases for public sector workers will be wiped out by this predicted increase in inflation.

Government’s predicted growth is largely based on infrastructure projects, and while government and Dart are largely following through on their projects, the ‘phantom projects’ from private sector investors that government has long pointed to as important factors fueling economic growth still appear a long way off.

The proposed Ironwood golf resort and the Beach Bay development look to be no further ahead than either did when they were first touted during the 2009-13 UDP administration. But both these and more recent ‘maybe’ developments, such as the two new hotel project proposals in George Town, are forming part of government’s rosy picture.

According to the SPS, “The most significant investments which support the positive economic growth forecasts are in the construction sector”, which includes “the development of a new five-star hotel; the proposed Iron Wood Golf course development; the upgrade and expansion of the Owen Roberts International Airport terminal”.

The expansion of the Esterley Tibbetts and Linford Pierson highways, both currently underway, also contribute to the GSP predictions. The cruise port and new cargo expansion also make it on to the list, and while government appears very committed to this project, there are still many hurdles to that potential major development, including public opposition, which is likely to increase once government begins the tendering process.

The government is forecasting steady growth on the basis that there are no major destabilizing impacts at home or abroad. But with the catastrophic situation in Texas that is likely to spark an increase in fuel prices, the growing number of wars and conflicts around the world and the increasingly unpredictable situation regarding ‘Brexit’ (the UK’s departure from Europe), the likelihood of the economic forecasts being off the mark is growing.

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Comments (52)

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  1. MM says:

    Customs duties on most essentials and food items are a minimum of 22%! That is almost an entire quarter of what grocers are paying to bring food in to the islands!

    Our Government needs to find other ways to increase income without making its people starve!

    My best suggestion to everyone is to start a small produce garden at home with quick crops! Lettuce, tomato, peppers, cucumbers and melons are a great start and cost less than $4 for a pack of seeds at AL Thompsons!

  2. Anonymous says:

    banks should never be allowed to sell house for what is owed only to them only…that way the mortgagee looses all equity…in a sense…the buyer is stealing the equity??? not allowed in 1st world vountries like usa and uk! but wait, cayman a first world country on appearance, but 3rd world reality…politicians….are you listening?

    • MM says:

      Not allowed in the USA?

      Houses are sold for the balance of tax owed in the USA much less the mortgage! Half million dollar homes being bought for $30k sometimes!

  3. Anonymous says:

    What is wrong with you people we are in a “sweet spot”! lol can’t believe the ppm are trying that fable again. Marco must be so proud of Roy

  4. Poverty stricken! says:

    I agree that consumer and employee protection are urgently needed. Prices are so high now that I regularly go without essentials, and even medical care that I know I need. I am taking a risk with my life if I don’t get these regular checks such as pap and mammogram, but we just can’t afford them. Wages were $5.50 an hour when we arrived more than a decade ago. When the minimum wage came in it was raised to $6 an hour. Unless that is increased by the government it will still be the same wage another decade from now. Prices go up and up, rich people get richer and richer, and the rest of us struggle more and more just to pay for the bare minimum.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are not supposed to be on minimum wage forever.

      The minimum wage was not meant to support a family. It is a starting wage for basic unskilled work.

      The point is to initially start at minimum wage and take the necessary steps (education, commitment, work ethic) to move beyond it. So if after a decade you claim to be at $6 an hour from $5.50 an hour you need to seriously look into yourself and see what steps you are (or aren’t) taking in your life which has caused you to be stuck there.

      10 years ago I was making $900 a month and through showing commitment, work ethic and taking available courses (with a scholarship) I now make over 5k a month.

      I do not know your situation but I seriously doubt it is government’s fault if no employer has seen any worthwhile reason to move you beyond a basic entry level position when you have obviously not taken the steps for them to do so.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with you 100%, but not everyone wants a desk job or sit behind a computer all day.

      • Anonymous says:

        Helping yourself – 1)Finish high school. 2) Don’t have a baby while not having a job or if you can’t afford it. 3) The lazy shall not eat. 4) Don’t get a credit card 5) mortgage = death
        6) Don’t get a payment plan with Flow or Digi

      • Mr. T. says:

        The Government keeps jacking up the duties they are almost 1/3 ownership of all business, if they lower their duties, prices will drop for all, in essence everyone gets a raise cause you’ll be able to purchase more. You cannot keep raising the cost of business with salary increases and duties, the cost of items are reflected directly and businesses will collapse. What price is acceptable on anything you purchase? If you loose your job because your employer can not cover all the expenses of Health Ins, Pension, Salary, Holiday pay, Vacation pay, Sick Pay, and Mandatory minimums. What do you do ? Many businesses are just operating day to day like many people live. Answer; lower the Duties for all. Soon more Tourists will not even come because of the costs of things. Just compare other travel destinations the dollar goes so much further and travelers see that!

  5. Anonymous says:

    no consumer protection in cayman…the banks are already screwing us? that mortgage contract you sign is just a demand note! dont pay …then get out of your house!? in usa, they were doing same thing…obama y them changed laws that homes have to be soldforfair market value? cayman politicians just take a blind eye to what banks are doing?

    • Anonymous says:

      A house is not mine until I have paid for it in full. I realize that economics will change over a 15-30 year loan. Sickness, Divorce, Under and Unemployment, and Poor Financial Skills all can and will happen but that does not make your owning a home your neighbors or the governments problem. Many times it is not how much we make in a lifetime, it is how we spend and what we save.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The company I work is in the private sector and the only increments employees receive are cost of living increases. We all get the mandatory annual review however, that’s a waste of time because despite getting excellent reviews each year, there are NO salary increases for admin and junior staff members however the managers/senior staff are rewarded with huge bonuses and increase in salaries. What can government do to safeguard the private sector employees from being deprived salary increases because of greedy CEO’s?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like disgusting a o n . Sad times when you try to intentionally drown a good swimmer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Work to become a manager or CEO. Do you have the qualifications? If so go find a employer that needs a qualified manager of CEO. I am a business owner in the US, I have a hard time finding people who can run machines and do production work. It is very hard to find people who can run people. When I find one I pay well and hope to keep them. Every employer I talk to says the same thing. To keep quality people you have to pay them well or they move on. The unqualified come and go all the time. usually not worth their wages.

      • Anonymous says:

        I note you said you are a business owner in the US…. Not sure what happens in the US however, I am referring to what is happening in the Cayman Islands… and whether you have the qualifications to be a CEO or not, we obviously have the skills we were hired to do, hence the reason for getting excellent reviews every year therefore…you CEO’s/managers can delegate work to admin and junior staff because obviously we have proven ourselves as being knowledgeable, dependable, accurate and able to meet deadlines which reflects good on all of you and the company overall therefore, when it’s time for bonuses and increase in salaries it should be reflected across the board and not just for senior managers and CEO’s.

        CEO’s are also supposed to be able to ensure that ALL employees are treated fairly and not discriminated against! Give that some thought! I understand why you’re so biased – being a CEO!

      • Anonymous says:

        Your arrogance is repulsive!

    • Anonymous says:

      I work in the private sector also and I can tell you the same. It sickens me to watch my boss get all the perks and monthly bonuses for doing absolutely nothing.

  7. Rp says:

    The only projects that should be included in the list should be the ones by dart and the current infrastructure projects such as the roads and airport. All other golf courses and cruise piers should not as they are not realistic.

    Again gov is planning based on best case scenarios…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we should just be smarter with our money. Middle class needs to Stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians.

    The Bible did say prices will go up.

    Stop wasting your money at the bar.

    • Anonymous says:

      The bible also says the dead will walk the earth. Don’t beleive everything you read.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:23 am, agreed, stop wasting their money at the bars/parties and hair dressers every week and cut back on them trips once a month to Miami. Learn to handle their money properly.

  9. Anonymous says:

    most polticians alreay rich, so why they worry about the poor….lets drive them further in poorness and eventually they will all leave…as they wony be able to survive here…

    • Anonymous says:

      Politicians are not rich, too many beggars out there who thinks that just because they voted they should get a portion of their salary.

  10. Anonymous says:

    going at that middle class ehh….only rich or poor in cayman. no in between…. ???

  11. Brian says:

    The banks need to be monitored, every week they come up with a new ”Fee” to charge you for. I took all my cash out of Butterfield bank when I noticed on my internet banking statement that they where charging me $2 dollars a go for ”Hacking Fee” , ”Monitoring Fee” stupid ”Stamp Duty” ”atm fees” and for using my cards in supermarkets all in all taking over $15 per week for nothing!!!! What justifies all these fee’s I asked them? When I have a Barclays account from the UK with a much better card and I don’t have any of these so called fee’s on top of that every time I try to use my Butterfield card to shop online it gets blocked even when I call the bank to tell them that I’m shopping on line.

    When I went to withdraw my saving they wanted to be nice to me then and tried charging me another fee before I could receive my lump sum cash. What a bunch of thieves!!

    I’m now with Credit Union any thought on them??

    • Anonymous says:

      The 2 dollar monthly “monitoring fee” that Butterfield charge is simply extortion. They are skimming this off our accounts with zero justification. When I shop online or travel and use my debit card no one even calls to check whether the charges are genuine. So how can they possibly justify a monitoring fee when no one monitors anything???

      I am closing my Butterfield account also, Brian.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank Brian – I have the same issues spending $80+ a month on bank fees. In addition some time last year Butterfield chose to perform card maintenance on a Saturday between 8am-5pm. Who does that? I had to suffer the indignity of having my card declined on the busiest shopping days of the week several times before I realized what was going on.

      I have a savings at Credit Union but with limited ATM machines and online banking not a viable option.

      • Anonymous says:

        Credit Union does have online banking. You just have to apply for it.

        Brian – I have a credit union account and I don’t have any issues with them. Interest is not charged on my funds (savings), only loans.

        Credit Union is the only organization that I feel comfortable enough with to leave my $$$. I am not charged for using the ATM machine or withdrawing over the counter like the commercial banks.

        BTW, if you decide to close down your account with a commercial bank you will be charged every month that the account is dormant. Still stealing your money!!

        The only issue I have with Credit Union is that they only have one ATM and it is in town. That does not help me because I like on the eastern side of town.

        • Anonymous says:

          “That does not help me because I live on the eastern side of town.”

          • Anonymous says:

            Apologies for using the incorrect words in my last sentence. My brain seems to be moving faster than I can type.

            “That does not help me because I live on the eastern side of the island.”

      • Anonymous says:

        Butterfield are absolute robbers. Those charges are completely unjustified. If, and it is a massive if, the services they provided were efficient and customer friendly, it could almost be understandable, but…crappy interest rates for savings, fees for everything possible under the sun, and plenty of blocked card scenarios…grrrr. Just wish there was competition. It is like internet/cellular services, it becomes a job to find the ‘least awful’ business.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would guess some of those fees are the Government debit tax, every debit card transactions is charged 25 cents payable to Government, ATM fees are payable if you use another bank’s ATM, they each charge each other for using them so we end up paying. Not sure about the monitoring fee, that’s a new one. Credit Union I would imagine are OK ish, as long as you don’t want to do any banking…I would read the fees from each bank and avoid all the ones you can!

      • Anonymous says:

        I pay a compliance fee, monitoring fee, maintenance fee, service charge and stamp duty.

        • Brian says:

          Me too brother!! When I questioned the bank they had no straight answer because even their staff know it’s bulsh#it!!
          I’m surprised you never had the ”Hacking fee” I had that a few times on top of the other bogus fee’s.

  12. Anonymous says:

    How wonderful, that means my christian boss will just increase my salary by the same percentage. Its just a earthly material thingy that christians dont care about.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The cost of living is already amongst the highest in the world. It will soon be the case that many Caymanians, including retirees, will not be able to live here. It is in part a consequence of a constant squeeze of import duties on the most basic of goods to feed an over-inflated and inefficient civil service, and provide generous benefits to persons who may not even be entitled to them under our laws. Meanwhile an ineffective education system, a growing entitlement culture, and failure to enforce our laws, is conspiring to create generations who will not be able to aspire to more than minimum wage jobs, and creating an increasingly hard to break cycle of poverty.

    There are solutions but with each day they will be harder to implement, and the prospect of their success diminishes.

    • Concerned says:

      Remember austerity breeds crime, with the present state of Cayman ‘s economy , unemployment , high crime is this the ideal time to purport an impending increase with cost of living. You think Social Issuess is rampant wait till this happen !

      • Anonymous says:

        We could always stop importing poverty, and deport many of the social problems we have here. We all know of expat baby daddies who refuse to support their children (or their mothers), and keep producing more. What does Government do? Nothing (except renew their work permits or civil service contracts).

        • Anonymous says:

          Women to be blame! Protect themselves ! Stop adding distress to manure root! You know what these men are made up of! Poor children suffers and the Social Services becomes overburdened. Again protect yourselves. Remember Cayman is not the UK who caters for these situations.

  14. Anonymous says:

    ppm predicts sitting on it’s hand for the next 4 years…….

  15. Da Sweet Spot says:

    Thanks Premier Alden and former minister Marco for the sweet spot we’re in. SMH

    Now that’s progressive


  16. Anonymous says:

    You meant: CIG predicts rising profits for business owners.

    Prices of these american products are double of that what they are imported for.
    Stop the BS.
    We need consumer protection. Not business protection.

    • BELONGER says:

      Double ?? How about triple in many cases and quadruple in some cases.

      • Anonymous says:

        You people don’t know about the Brac, here the prices is a lot more than Grand, eg, Grain liquid soap 225 ozes. is $ 37.75 for one bottle here and in Grand is $ 22. Here one box ox of cereal is more than two boxes in Grand., etc, etc, etc. over here is like the dog says rough, rough, rough..

    • Anonymous says:

      We need protection from the banks too! They’re adding new fees on a weekly basis and they are killing us with the interest rates on loans!

    • Sharkey says:

      9:44 pm you’ are ever so right, I wonder what the Government is really thinking, but I believe that they can’t . But to hear that Cayman Islands cost of living is going up , makes wonder if the government can think .

      Doing that now is asking for major problems with crime and corruption. No jobs now , and low wages now , but is going to raise the cost of living.

      Yesterday I was talking with a small business owner, and he said that it’s cheaper for him to buy sodas that is made here in the USA from the big supermarket cheaper than he can get it from Coke Cola . That just shows us what is going on in Government and the business world .

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