In the first quarter of 2021, consumer goods and services in Bonaire were 3.2 per cent cheaper than one year previously. Prices also decreased in St. Eustatius and Saba, by 4.1 per cent and 1.3 per cent year-on-year, respectively, CBS reported on the basis of the consumer price index (CPI) for the Caribbean Netherlands. The low inflation rate in the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands in the first quarter of the year is mainly attributable to the allowances for electricity, drinking water and the Internet, which have been provided by the Dutch national government as of May 1, 2020.
As of January 2021, an additional subsidy on Internet subscriptions is provided in the amount of US $20 in Statia and $10 in Saba.
The COVID-19 crisis had an impact on how the CPI was compiled for the Caribbean Netherlands throughout the first months of 2021 as well. Especially the lockdown in Bonaire in March resulted in substantially fewer in-store price observations that month.
The low inflation rate in Bonaire is mainly due to the reductions in the fixed usage tariffs for electricity and water there, as of May 1, 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, electricity was 14.3 per cent and water 16 per cent cheaper than in 2020. Relative to the previous quarter, prices in Bonaire increased between January and March 2021 by an average of one per cent, mainly caused by higher variable usage tariffs for electricity and water.
Although the variable tariffs increased quarter-on-quarter, the total rate — the sum of fixed and variable tariffs — remained below the level of one year previously.
Average food prices remained fairly stable. Prices of poultry fell by nearly three per cent, while fresh fruit prices rose by 1.5 per cent. In addition, women’s clothing became 4.6 per cent more expensive.
Prices in Statia declined 4.1 per cent compared with the same period last year. Prices fell by 3.2 per cent year-on-year in the previous quarter.
Consumers paid 0.6 per cent less for goods and services in the first quarter of the year compared to the previous quarter. The cost of communication fell by 16.2 per cent. The variable usage tariffs for electricity went up by more than 10 per cent on the final quarter of 2020. Gasoline and diesel fuel prices climbed as well, by 1.7 and 3.9 per cent, respectively.
In Saba, consumers paid 1.3 per cent less on average in the first quarter of 2021 than in the first quarter of last year. In the final quarter of 2020, the inflation rate still amounted to -0.8 per cent.
Goods and services were 0.2 per cent cheaper in the first quarter of 2021 than in the previous quarter. Communication cost was down by 4.8 per cent. Food and toiletries also went down in price, while the variable usage tariffs for electricity increased by more than 26 per cent relative to the final quarter of 2020.
The Daily Herald.