Consumer Price Index increased in first quarter 2018

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) of March, 2018 indicated an increase of (+0.7 %). Port Vila slightly increased by (+0.9%) while Luganville slightly decrease by (-0.3%), compared to the previous quarter, according to the latest quarterly highlight of the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO).

The expenditure group that contributed to the increase in the CPI were: Recreation (+4.6%), Housing supplies (+4.1%), Drinks & Tobacco (+2.8%), Miscellaneous (+1.4%), Housing Utilities and Health contributed (+1.2%) respectively. Food (+0.8%), and again Clothing and Footwear and Transport (+0.5%) each, However, the only group that contributed to the decrease in price movement was Education (-11.1%). The main contributor in prices was due to the increases in price movements of purchasing of, Visual entertainment equipment and accommodation, Household furniture’s, wine and spirits, rent house/Flat, and other hospital fees in both region.

All expenditure groups show increase of 2.5% vat (12.5%-15%) in price movement of all goods and services in the country. However, education shows negative price movement for which it indicates the impact of government subsidy or grant for school fees in preschool, primary and secondary government schools as well as schools assisted by the government.

When compared to the March quarter of 2017, the Vanuatu index increased by (+3.2%), Port Vila index increased by (+3.8%) and Luganville index slightly decreased by (-0.1%). At national level, the expenditure groups that contributed to the increase over the same quarter of last year were: Food (+5.8%) Household Supplies and Transport (+4.4%) each, Drinks and Tobacco (+2.8%), Housing Utilities (+2.4%), Recreation (+2.1%), Miscellaneous (+2.0%), Clothing and Footwear (+1.4%), Health (+1.3%) and Communication (+0.3%).The increases in these expenditure groups were the result of increases in price movements of , Root crops, Fruits and Vegetables, Housing Furniture’s and purchasing and hiring of motor vehicle, and International airline tickets, Wines and Spirits .While the other groups that shows negative impact were Education (-11.1%).

‘Underlying inflation’ is a measure derived from the CPI excluding items which typically have unstable or volatile prices; because of things like seasonal variation or policy decisions. In March quarter of 2018, underlying inflation increased by (1.0 %) over the previous quarter and increased by (+2.0%) over the same quarter of 2018.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used to measure the changes in the prices of goods and services purchased by households in Port Vila and Luganville over a period of time. The separate indices for these two major commercial centres are then combined to create the Vanuatu CPI. This change in prices is sometimes called inflation. Retail stores, supermarkets, liquor outlets, transport operators, service stations and other providers of goods and services help supply the Vanuatu National Statistics Office with the information to calculate the CPI.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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