Inflation falling but food prices increase

| 17/12/2020 | 44 Comments

(CNS): The overall cost of living fell by 1.6% in the third quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, but that doesn’t mean Cayman Islands residents are seeing prices come down in general, despite the economic challenges of COVID-19. While costs have declined in some sectors, when it comes to food and telephone costs, shoppers are paying 5.5% more than this time last year on groceries and almost 7% more in phone bills, according to the latest report from the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO).

Cayman’s inflation rate is an ever-moving and sometimes confusing target that often fails to reflect the bottom line felt by regular people. But with inflation reaching record high increases of over 8% at the end of last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly dampened down prices in the third quarter of this year.

But because the consumer price index includes a complex bundle of goods, the reality of the cost of living can sometimes appear distorted.

According to the latest quarterly results, covering July through September, there was a 6.9% drop in overall transport costs fuelled by 25% fall in air travel costs. But since few people were flying, the corresponding increase of nearly 24% in the cost of cars is what impacted people the most. While the price of utilities fell significantly as a result of a decline in fuel costs, rents went up over this period.

The main day to day impact on everyone is the trip to the supermarket, which increased overall by 5.5%, but that hides specific significant hikes on dairy produce, which increased by 12.5%, and a spike of 7% on the cost of fruit.

Meanwhile, imports certainly took a hit during the three months, with the total value of the merchandise reflecting the decreased economic activity due to the pandemic.

According to the quarterly trade statistics bulletin, goods imported during the third quarter amount to $296.85 million. This represents a decrease of 10.2%, as non-petroleum and petroleum and petroleum-related imports declined by over 46%. Non-petroleum imports fell by 5.4% on the same period last year.

See both reports on the ESO website here.

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Category: Economy, Politics

Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wages are also on the up and up…just leave your job and go across the road or ask for a raise.

    Thats how most people address the cost of living.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The problem with duty free items, it’s never passed on to consumers they still add it on when pricing their goods. Take the Brac for example, building materials an gasoline etc is duty free but it’s more expensive than Grand that got to pay duties

  3. Anonymous says:

    A Canadian friend told me that one of the private schools is being faced with a 40% increase in the Health Insurance premiums. Broker is saying that this is across the board and to be expected next year. Need some CIG intervention as the only people making money on this, appears to be the doctors.

    • Ambulance chasers says:

      Yeah. Members of Parliament unanimously approved the new legal bill 1st draft. This is going to increase the cost of living 20 times in the CI. It is creating ambulance chasers. Lawyers working on commission. Slip and fall in supermarket on wet floor. Lawyers will work on commission. Lawyer i do it for 50% of the settlement. Good time to be a lawyer. I am suprise the chamber has remain quiet. They must all be sleeping.

    • Anonymous says:

      They need to get a better broker.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Another ripoff is auto dealership denying perfectly legitimate warranty claims XXXX where’s Ask Auntie when we need her more than ever?

    CNS: Auntie is taking a rest but she’ll be back next year sometime.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Inflated food prices! Almost as bad as getting ripped off on a car repair at GT! Brutal!

  6. Anonymous says:

    i want a pillow…i shopped.. they were all 60. so i work 10 hours for one pillow…an entire days work…for one…pillow..this is cayman

  7. Anonymous says:

    Arent we only weeks away from an almost 7% postponed CUC hike? Supermarkets will get hit too and have to pass that on so we may need to revisit this topic very soon!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Lies, Damn Lies and Government Statistics.

    Surely, nobody in their right mind believes this codswallop nor have they a sufficiently large aperture to swallow this whale?

    Inflation is down… foot!

  9. Vinnie says:

    People of cayman are being ripped off seriously in supermarkets
    Hurleys is for rich people already.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The figures are bogus, inflation is 4-9% a year

  11. Anonymous says:

    You have a real problem with your food prices. There doesn’t seem to be any price competition, and then you add the duty on top of most food. It’s hard to understand why a high duty on food is thought to be a good idea. If I was Caymanian I would run for office on a platform of eliminating duty on food . It doesn’t bring in that much and it impacts every voter.

    • Anonymous says:

      If it doesn’t bring in that much then it can’t have that much impact, by definition, since it can’t be that much. Especially as several key goods, e.g., milk as cited in this article, are duty free IIRC.

      Now if we want to talk about what products should, or should not, be duty free, that’s a worthwhile discussion to have. Sanitary pads should be duty free.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cost of living went up and so did the profit margins.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with duty free items, it’s never passed on to consumers they still add it on when pricing their goods. Take the Brack for example, building materials an gasoline etc is duty free but it’s more expensive than Grand that got to pay duties

  13. Say it like it is says:

    Could someone please inform OfReg that our phone bills have gone up 7%?.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What’s important to remember here is that all MLA’s will get a cost of living pay increase.

    They have bills to pay you know.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wait until the next home insurance is due mine is 26% higher than last year no option to do much as I have a mortgage. So the figures mean little

  16. Anonymous says:

    How about some duty free kick backs? We can’t fly off island so let everyone have a one time allowance. I get we aren’t developers who destroy the island for profit but help the everyday person out too.

  17. Hubert says:

    Not sure I understand how rents have increased, with so many places vacant, especially in the Seven Mile Beach Corridor? Didn’t thousands of people leave Grand Cayman during this year?

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually the population, and the number of work permit holders, has been steadily increasing since the summer. Many of those who left were minimum wage tourism workers in shared accommodation.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Wellp, the price of weed went down a lot since Covid, so there’s that. My unemployed friend has been selling homegrown to eat too.

    When we legalizing? Seems like lots of export and agricultural employment opportunities await.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Inflation figures here are always skewed for a big portion of the population because of the weight of housing costs. Inflation is down because housing rental prices are down and that’s great for expats and Caymanians who rent. However, for those with mortgages, they look at this story with a good bit of disbelief – and for good reason.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:49, Did you read the article? It said rental prices are up not down.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmmm… I have to wonder about that. I know two people who have moved from my complex in South Sound – one moved into a 7 Mile Beach condo and the other to an oceanfront home. In both cases, the rent they are paying is less than what they were paying in my complex. We have several units now unoccupied in our complex – more than there ever has been. Simple supply and demand principles would seem to dictate that when there’s more supply than demand, rents would go down. Of course, we’re relying in the ESO here…

      • Anonymous says:

        Anecdotally, all the landlords I have talked to the last few months, have dropped their rents especially around Seven Mile Beach and West Bay.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I hope who ever gets elected in next year’s election – will do something about the high cost of living in the Cayman Islands.

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