On the basis of the consumer price index (CPI), Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that the inflation rates on the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands were all negative in Q4 2015. The rates on Bonaire and St Eustatius were negative in all quarters of 2015; the rate on Saba has been negative over the past six months and the average rate over the entire year 2015 is also negative, although only just.
The inflation rate on Bonaire fell to -1.2 percent in Q4. In Q2 and Q3 consumer prices were 0.9 percent below the same quarters in 2014. In Q1 2015 the inflation rate was also negative. The sustained decline of inflation on Bonaire in Q4 was largely caused by dropping petrol prices. Price developments for clothing and footwear had an upward effect on inflation.
Inflation on St Eustatius fell from -0.5 percent in Q3 to -0.7 percent in Q4. On St Eustatius inflation was also negative from the beginning of 2015. The rate was mainly curbed by price developments of food products and soft drinks. Prices of these products rose on an annual basis, but much more slowly than in Q3.
In Q3 the rate on Saba was negative for the first time (-0.9 percent) and rose to -0.6 percent in Q4, partly because cosmetics became more expensive. Although the price of petrol remained stable relative to Q3, it still had an upward effect on inflation, because on an annual basis the price fell less rapidly than in Q3.
Inflation in 2015 much lower than in 2014
Inflation rates on all three islands in the Caribbean Netherlands declined substantially last year. The average rate on Bonaire fell from 1.5 percent over 2014 to -0.9 percent over 2015. Inflation decreased most noticeably on St Eustatius, from 2.6 percent in 2014 to -1.0 percent in 2015. The average rate on Saba over the entire year 2015 was -0.1 percent, versus 2.0 percent over 2014.
The lower inflation rate is mainly caused by plummeting petrol prices in 2015. On all three islands, petrol prices were approximately 20 percent below the 2014 level. Electricity prices also fell in 2015; on St Eustatius by more than 8 percent, on Bonaire by nearly 7 percent and on Saba by more than 1 percent compared to 2014.
Bonaire was the only island where food and soft drinks were cheaper in 2015 than in 2014, but the price reduction was only 0.2 percent. Food (including meat) and soft drink prices on St Eustatius and Saba were 2.2 and 1.6 percent up from 2014.
The status of the figures referring to Q4 and over 2015 as a whole is provisional and will become definite when data over Q1 of 2016 are published.
This article is also available in Papiamento.