Price developments in Dutch Caribbean mirror uniqueness of the three islands

World Statistics Day

“You can only govern a country, if you know the figures”, is a slogan used by Statistics Netherlands. The slogan also applies to the islands of Bonaire, Saint. Eustatius and Saba, together constituting the Dutch Caribbean.

10-10-10: transition date Dutch Caribbean

Since 10 October 2010, the Netherlands takes over part of the administrative responsibility and Statistics Netherlands will be responsible for carrying out the statistical programme of the islands. Bonaire, Saba and Saint Eustatius are unique and there is a lot of difference between them. In 2011, their unique status will become evident in the population statistics and the consumer price index figures, which will be published for each of the islands separately by Statistics Netherlands.

Life most expensive on Saba

In the light of World Statistics Day, the first statistics to be published on the Dutch Caribbean will be a statistics on consumer prices on Saba and Saint Eustatius compared to Bonaire. Average daily shopping prices and other household expenditure on Saba and Saint Eustatius are respectively 8 and 2 percent higher than on Bonaire.

The categories ’Home maintenance and repairs, water and energy’ and ’Food and soft drinks’ contribute most to the price differences between Saba and Bonaire. Another striking price difference is recorded in the category ‘Alcoholic drinks and tobacco’. Unlike on Bonaire, these goods are excise-free on Saba and Saint Eustatius.

Relative price levels on Saba and Saint Eustatius compared to Bonaire

Relative price levels on Saba and Saint Eustatius compared to Bonaire

Background and composition of the statistics

The statistics on relative consumer price levels was realised with a mandate of Statistics Netherlands on the Netherlands Antilles and the support of the statistical office of Bonaire, which is part of Statistics Netherlands since 10 October 2010. The survey on relative consumer price levels within the Dutch Caribbean territory was the result of an agreement made in November 2009 by the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and Saint Eustatius and Saba. The aim of the agreement was to investigate the possibilities of imposing a surcharge in order to offset the price differences between Bonaire, Saba and Saint Eustatius.

The statistics is based on a comparable consumer basket for the islands of Bonaire, Saba and Saint Eustatius over the period May–September 2010, in which more than 4,250 prices are evaluated. Prices of consumer goods charged in local supermarkets, bakery shops, petrol stations, hairdressers, hotels and restaurants and the notary public on the islands were surveyed. Information regarding Saba and Saint Eustatius is also partly based on data from public utility and telecommunication companies on the island of Saint Maarten. The methodology used to calculate the price levels is the same as the one used for the European purchasing power parity (PPP) programme. The PPP programme, in which Statistics Netherlands participates, compares prices of approximately thirty European countries.

Arthur Giesberts, Peter Hein van Mulligen en Gert-Jan van Steeg


Relative price levels on Saba and Saint Eustatius compared to Bonaire

This article is also available in Papiamento.