Consumer prices soaring in Dutch Caribbean

Consumer prices soaring in Dutch Caribbean

Average consumer prices in the Dutch Caribbean rose dramatically in 2011 relative to one year previously. With 9.9 percent, St Eustatius recorded the highest inflation rate. The inflation rates for Bonaire and Saba were 5.4 and 6.4 percent respectively. For comparison’s sake: the Dutch inflation rate over 2011 was 2.3 percent, according to Statistics Netherlands.

Prices for food, soft drinks and transport contributed to inflation on Bonaire. Food prices were 7.8 percent up in 2011 from 2010, largely due to meat prices. Transport was more expensive as a result of higher airline ticket prices. Petrol prices also had an upward effect on inflation. Petrol prices rose rapidly in the first six months of 2011. Clothes prices increased by 11 percent last year.

Highest inflation rate recorded on St Eustatius
The most substantial price increase (9.9 percent) was recorded on St Eustatius, mainly as a result of higher transport prices early last year. Airline ticket and motor fuel prices rose dramatically. Higher energy prices and higher prices charged in the hotels and restaurants sector also contributed to inflation. Electricity prices were higher in the months of May, June and July due to the delayed effect of higher fuel prices on energy prices. Prices charged in the sector hotels and restaurants were nearly one quarter up from one year previously. In the first quarter of 2011, many businesses in the sector raised their prices in reaction to the introduction of the new tax system in 2011.

Food and transport prices push up inflation on Saba
Saba recorded an inflation rate of 6.4 percent in 2011. Transport prices contributed most to inflation. Expensive airline tickets were the main cause, just as on the other islands. Motor fuel prices also soared on Saba. Prices of food products and soft drinks were 9 percent up from one year previously in 2011. Meat, bread and cereal products played an important part in this respect. Higher prices charged in the sector hotels and restaurants were the third important factor. They were nearly 21 percent higher in 2011 than in the preceding year. The price increase in the sector hotels and restaurants mainly occurred in the first quarter, just as on St Eustatius.

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