Rising Demand for Betel-nut Pushes up Inflation

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Rising demand for betel-nut pushes up inflation.

THE country’s inflation better known as the change in the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) has risen +5.1 percent to 112.4 in January 2020 with rising demand for betel-nut coupled with a general rise in prices of main goods and services has propelled the upturn.

The Solomon Islands National Statistics Office (SINSO) revealed in its latest statistical report released by the Government Statistician Douglas Kimi this week.

“Compared to the same respective months last year, the National CPI increased 7.6 percent,” Mr. Kimi said according to the report.

The major changes in other expenditure categories from the previous month include:
• Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: (+1.2%).
• Alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and narcotics: (+32.1%).
• Clothing and Footwear: (-0.3%)
• Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels: (+0.3%).
• Furnishings, household equipment, and routine household cleaning maintenance: (+0.4%)
• Health (+9.1%)
• Transport: (+0.2%).

“The main contributors to the national price movement were in Alcoholic Beverages, Tobacco and Narcotics (+37.8%) and Health (+9.6%) emanating from Honiara.

“The former was driven by a rapid rise in betel nut prices due to poor weather and rising demand, while the latter was due to an upward revision in private consultation fees,” Mr. Kimi quoted.

He said the Solomon Islands inflation rates for the months of January 2020 calculated on 3 months moving average basis was +4.4%, up 1.6 percentage points in December 2019. “The corresponding inflation rates for imported items were -0.1% while other (domestic) items inflation rates were +6.5 %.

“The Solomon Islands underlying rates of inflation based on 3 months moving average for the month was observed between +1.1% and +2.0%.
“The headline inflation rates for the respective provincial towns calculated on a 3 months moving average basis were: Honiara: (+5.0%) up +2.0 percentage points: Auki: +4.2%, rose +0.5 percentage points; Gizo: (+0.4%), up +0.1 percentage points and Noro: (+2.0%) dropped -0.8 percentage points.”