In Q3 2020, consumer goods and services on Bonaire were 4.8 percent cheaper than one year previously. Prices also decreased on St Eustatius and Saba, by 3.3 percent and 1.6 percent year-on-year respectively. For all three islands, these were the largest price decreases measured since Statistics Netherlands (CBS) introduced these price indices in 2011. This is reported by CBS on the basis of the consumer price index for the Caribbean Netherlands.
The recent price decreases are partly attributable to the allowances for electricity, drinking water and internet, which have been provided by the government as of 1 May 2020. As a result, the fixed usage tariffs for electricity and drinking water amount to 0 US dollars, and fixed internet subscribers receive a monthly discount of 25 US dollars. In Q3, the subsidies had an effect on all three months, while in Q2 this only applied to May and June. The full effect of the subsidies is therefore only visible in the third quarter.
Electricity prices on Bonaire down by one-third
On Bonaire, the average price level declined by 4.8 percent relative to Q3 2019. As a result of the government measures in May 2020, prices for water, electricity and telecommunications continued to drop. Relative to Q3 2019, water was more than 27.4 percent cheaper, while prices for electricity and telecommunications were down by 33.1 and 18.7 percent respectively.
Fuel prices declined as well: petrol was 17.2 percent and diesel 33.9 percent cheaper than in Q3 2019. Relative to Q2 2020, the price of petrol dropped by 21.8 percent and the price of diesel by 37.8 percent.
Prices on St Eustatius more than 3 percent lower
In Q3 2020, consumer prices on St Eustatius were 3.3 percent lower year-on-year. The government measures of 1 May caused telecommunications and electricity prices to decline further. Compared to Q3 2019, electricity was 27.9 percent and telecommunications 18.1 percent cheaper. The price of electricity was 21.9 percent down on the second quarter of 2020, due to a reduction in the variable tariff.
Electricity on Saba almost half the price
In Q3 2020, consumers on Saba paid on average 1.6 percent less for goods and services relative to one year previously. Here, too, the government measures of 1 May caused electricity and telecommunications prices to drop further in Q3. Electricity was 46.9 percent and telecommunications 12.2 percent cheaper than in Q3 2019. Relative to Q2 2020, the price of electricity was down by 33.6 percent, due to a variable tariff reduction on this island as well.
Impact of the coronavirus crisis on compiling the consumer price index (CPI)
Bonaire was in a soft lockdown from 21 to 30 September 2020, which impacted in-store price observation on this island: prices for some products could not be observed. This was not the case on St Eustatius and Saba. However, due to the government measures, some products and services on both islands were limited or unavailable in Q3 2020. CBS chose an appropriate estimation method for these products. This memo explains the decisions that were made.
Figures referring to Q3 2020 are provisional and will become definitive upon publication of the figures over Q4 2020.