This week the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) released final statistics for 2014, with relation to trade and inflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed negative figures of minus 0.4 per cent, fueled as it were by the lower prices for gasoline and butane and some food items.
It is the first contraction of inflation reported since May of 2013. Premium, regular and diesel gasoline all fell between 17 and 22 percent respectively. International airfares are down about 17 percent, and eggs, vegetables and red kidney beans, all staples of the Belizean palate, saw decreases. But home rental prices are on the rise by 1.5 percent and lower butane prices were not enough to stop the housing and utilities sector from a small increase of 1 percent. Overall the national inflation rate for 2014 was 1 percent.
Belize imported more than 2 billion dollars worth of goods while exporting just over $600 million for the widest trade gap seen in some time. Belize is importing mostly machinery and transport equipment, as well as some manufactured foods and live animals, but the traditional major exports such as sugar, citrus, bananas and marine products all suffered decline and petroleum recorded no exports at all in December, although $6.7 million in sales was recorded.