In Q4 2020, prices of consumer goods and services on Saba were 0.8 percent lower than one year previously; in Q3 2020, they were down by 1.6 percent. Fresh fruit prices rose by 9.7 percent in Q4 relative to the previous quarter. Furthermore, toiletries, clothing, and footwear became more expensive. In Q4, prices of clothing and footwear rose by 2.0 percent relative to the previous quarter.
Consumer prices on Bonaire down by 5.2 percent
In Q4 2020, prices of consumer goods and services on Bonaire declined by 5.2 percent relative to the same quarter of the previous year. In Q3, consumer prices were 4.8 percent lower year-on-year. On St Eustatius, prices in Q4 were 3.2 percent down year-on-year and on Saba 0.8 percent. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of the consumer price index (CPI).
On Bonaire, food prices rose in Q4 2020 relative to the previous quarter. Fresh vegetables were 1.1 percent, fresh fruit 2.0 percent and potatoes 8.3 percent more expensive. Meat prices were also up in Q4. On the other hand, the price development of furniture and toiletries had a downward effect on consumer price levels.
Prices on St Eustatius down by 3.2 percent
On St Eustatius, consumer prices were on average 3.2 percent lower in Q4 2020 compared to the same quarter of the previous year. The decline was still 3.3 percent in Q3.
The price development of food had an upward effect on inflation. For example, fresh fruit was nearly 6.2 percent up in price relative to the previous quarter. In addition, prices of clothing and footwear rose by 2.5 percent relative to Q3.
A drop in prices of audio and video equipment and toys had a downward effect on price developments in Q4.
Average price development 2020
In 2020, the annual average price level on Bonaire was 2.5 percent lower than in 2019. St Eustatius saw an annual year-on-year decrease of 1.5 percent and on Saba the average price level was down by 0.7 percent. The lower price level in 2020 is mainly attributable to the allowances for electricity, drinking water and internet provided by the government as of 1 May 2020. As a result of this, 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.
Do not take these figures for serious or true, as the base of many figures is fictional, due to the changes to the logistics (corona crisis). Furthermore many prices couldn’t be collected, so CBS made estimates for them. Also due to the crisis consumption patterns have changed, some expenditures weren’t possible, so parts of this index could not be calculated. But nevertheless CBS did not change the index – to be able to compare in the future the different time slices. On the website of CBS a pdf can be downloaded in which this is explained. But you’ll read many times: probably, or assumed, or simular phrases.
Easily can be concluded that essential food and beverages products in Caribbean Netherlands are always (too) expensive and these prices have risen, esp. due to increased transportation costs. Non-essential products were bought lesser and these prices became lower. And some public utilities were subsidized by the government, so these prices were therefore also lower.
If it’s only statistics than the problem is not so big, but as governments tend to base many decisions on these figures, caution is necessary.