bag of flour

CHECKING PRICES: A shopper checks the price of a bag of flour on December 29, 2021 at a grocery in downtown Port of Spain before it increased last Monday. —Photo: Jermaine Cruickshank

FOOD and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 7.6 per cent between October 2020 and October 2021, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) reported yesterday.

In a memorandum on the Index of Retail Prices (RPI) published for general information yesterday, attributed to the acting director of statistics, Andre Blanchard, the CSO noted that the All Items Index of Retail Prices increased by 3.9 per cent between October 2020 and last October.

Contributing to the 3.9 per cent increase in all items, was a 6.2 per cent jump in the cost of housing, water, electricity gas and other fuels. That increase included a 7.7 per cent increase in home ownership and a 0.6 per cent hike in rent. Prices of water, electricity, gas and other fuels reflected no change.

Between October 2020 and October 2021, the CSO also reported that transportation costs were 3.1 per cent higher for the period and the cost of healthcare saw an increase of 2.3 per cent. Furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house increased by 2.7 per cent between October 2020 and October 2021, according to the CSO.

The price of food and non-alcoholic beverages was 2.2 per cent higher in October 2021 than last September.

According to the CSO, contributing significantly to this increase was the general upward movement in the prices of: whole chickens–fresh; tomatoes; pumpkin; cabbage; hot peppers; soya bean oil; other chilled or frozen chicken (parts); tea-in-bags; bodi; and potatoes. However, the full impact of these price increases was offset by the general decreases in the prices of brown sugar; ochroes; eddoes; powdered milk–full cream; onions; carrots; orange; banana–ripe; eggs; and white flour.

The All Items Index of Retail Price was 1.5 per cent higher in October 2021 than in September last year.

The 2.2 per cent increase in food and non-alcoholic beverages contributed 0.5 points to the 1.5 per cent increase in the All Items Index between September and October 2021.

The CSO review of data for October 2021 compared with September 2021 reflected increases in the sub-indices for:

• 2.3 per cent for housing, electricity, gas and other fuels;

• 2.4 per cent for Furnishings, Household Equipment & Routine Maintenance of the House;

• 0.9 per cent for health;

• 1.6 per cent for transport

• 0.2 per cent for recreation and culture;

• 1.0 per cent for hotels, cafes and restaurants

• 0.4 per cent for miscellaneous goods and services

However decreases were noted in the sub-indices for Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco of 0.3 per cent, and Clothing and Footwear of 0.3 per cent. All other sections remained unchanged.

The price increases reported by the CSO yesterday came before the price of cement sold by Trinidad Cement Ltd increased by 15 per cent on December 20 and last week’s increase in the price of flour sold to wholesalers by majority State-owned National Flour Mills increased by between 15 and 22 per cent. The price of flour sold to consumers increased by between 10 and 17 per cent.

The country’s largest commercial bakery also increased the price of bread.

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