Inflation Drops in March


FOOD prices in March were down 0.2 per cent compared with February 2.1 per cent rise giving some relief to households within the Honiara City.

This is according to the latest Honiara Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March 2018 released by the National Statistics Office last week.

Releasing the official figures, Government Statistician Douglas Kimi said the March CPI fell 0.2 per cent from 195.1 in February to 194.7.

“This was predominantly driven by price drops in Food, Drinks and Tobacco, and Transport and Communication sub-sections of the index,” Mr. Kimi said.

“The Food sub-index dropped during the month by 0.2 per cent to 180.3. This was mainly driven by price falls in sugar (-2.8 per cent) and fresh fruits and vegetables sold at the Honiara market; most notable were bush cabbage (-6.5 per cent), melon (-24.0 per cent), Chinese cabbage (-24.1 per cent), cucumber (-25.4 per cent), green bean (-11.3 per cent), pawpaw (-11.2 per cent), spring onion (-8.6 per cent) and green pepper (-40.3 per cent).

“These outweighed price increases in green and dry coconuts (41.9 per cent and 47.9 per cent, respectively), kumara (12.0 per cent), cassava (4.5 per cent), cooking banana (11.1 per cent), tomatoes (10.5 per cent), bush lime (13.7 per cent) and fern cabbage (7.5 per cent) to result in the fall of the overall food sub-index,” Mr. Kimi added.

Other major changes in other sub-indexes include;

Drinks and Tobacco fell 1.7 per cent driven by a 5.7 per cent price drop in betel nut.

Housing and Utilities went up 0.3 per cent due to price increases of 1.2 per cent and 0.9 per cent in electricity and LP gas respectively, outweighing a 1.1 per cent drop in the price of kerosene.

Graph shows the Honiara annual headline and underlying inflation rates from January 2015 to March 2018.

Household Operations rose 0.2 per cent driven by price increases in household cleaning products, notably soap.

Transport and Communications dropped 0.3 per cent on account of price declines of 1.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent in petrol and diesel respectively.

Mr. Kimi said apart from the above, price movements elsewhere in the consumption basket were negligible.

“The overall “annual” headline inflation rate ending March 2018 (calculated on a 3 months moving average) was 4.0 per cent, up 0.4 of a percentage point from 3.6 per cent recording in the previous month ending February (calculated on a 3 months moving average). The corresponding inflation rates for imported and other items were 1.1 per cent and 5.5 per cent, respectively,” Mr. Kimi said.