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Negative inflation for sixth month in seven

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Potato prices: down 7.4 per cent in January (File photo by Akil Simmons)

Bermuda’s annual inflation rate was negative for the sixth month out of seven in January at -0.3 per cent.

The island had experienced five consecutive months of deflation before the annual inflation rate turned positive in December at 0.3 per cent.

Consumers paid 0.3 per cent less for a basket of goods and services included in the Consumer Price Index in January, than they did in the same month in 2020.

Between December and January, the average cost of goods and services in the CPI increased 0.3 per cent.

The all-items index rose from 105.7 to 106.0 in January.

This means that the basket of goods and services that cost $100 in April 2015 now costs $106.00.

The transport and foreign travel sector was the largest contributor to the 12-month decline in the CPI at -5.3 per cent. Year-over-year, residents paid less for overseas hotel accommodations, down 20.4 per cent, and airfare, down 13.7 per cent.

The fuel and power, and rent, sectors also impacted strongly on the rate of inflation, sliding 2.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively.

The transport and foreign travel sector advanced 1.5 per cent in January. Factoring into the increase was a 3.6 per cent rise in the average cost of overseas car rentals and a 3.4 per cent jump in the average price of premium fuels.

Due to a 3.2 per cent increase in the fuel adjustment clause in January, the fuel and power sector rose 1 per cent.

Prices in the clothing and footwear sector rose 0.5 per cent in January. On average, the price of men’s dress shirts and jackets, suits and blazers rose 6.4 per cent and 3.3 per cent, respectively.

The rent sector edged up 0.5 per cent for the month. The increase was fuelled by a 0.1 per cent rise in rent-controlled properties and rental units not subject to rent control climbing 0.9 per cent.

The tobacco and liquor sector climbed 0.3 per cent. Increases were reported in the average price of beer, up 0.7 per cent, and wines, up 0.3 per cent.

On average, prices within the food sector fell 0.1 per cent for the month. Consumers paid less for local and imported potatoes, down 7.4 per cent, as well as fresh and frozen leg of lamb, down 6.4 per cent, and frozen pork loins, down 3.5 per cent.

The education, recreation, entertainment and reading sector declined 0.1 per cent as the average cost of pet food fell 5.2 per cent.

The household goods, service and supplies sector was unchanged in January. The average cost of cleaning materials, down 1.3 per cent, was offset by the average cost of food wraps and trash bags, up 0.8 per cent.

The health and personal care sector was static for the month.

The January CPI report was released by Wayne Furbert, Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Data was compiled by the Bermuda Government Department of Statistics.

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Published April 26, 2021 at 6:32 am (Updated April 26, 2021 at 6:32 am)

Negative inflation for sixth month in seven

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