27 October 2022
The latest annual price inflation rate is 5.4%, meaning on average the cost of goods and services is now 5.4% more expensive when compared to this time last year.
For the third quarter of 2022 the Retail Price Index (RPI) has been measured at 113.9 (Chart 1), from a base reference of 100 in Q1 of 2018. This is an increase of 1.1% from three months ago. It is also an increase of 5.4% from a year ago, when the RPI was 108.1. This continues the general upward trend in the costs of goods and services and is the highest inflation has been since the first quarter of 2017 (7.0%).
Chart 1. St Helena Retail Price Index Q3 2015 to Q3 2022 (Q1 2018=100)
The index uses 203 representative items of household spending, to measure price changes in nine different categories, from the price of a loaf of bread to utility bills. Since a year ago, 80 items increased in price, 34 items decreased in price, and the price of 89 items remained unchanged.
Chart 2. Annual price change by category, St Helena (Q3 2022 compared to Q3 2021)
Note: category weights are provided in parentheses; these indicate the extent to which different categories are represented in the overall index. Categories with higher weight have a greater contribution to the index than categories with lower weights.
Notable changes over the past year include price increases in representative items within the transport category, especially petrol and diesel fuel, as well as average prices of clothing, household goods and services, and housing.
During the last 12 months, prices of petrol and diesel increased by 50% and 49% respectively, also impacting services reliant on these commodities such as transportation. On average, food prices have increased by 3.1% since the same period last year, the highest annual increase since Quarter 3 2019.
Over 85% of St Helena’s imports come from the UK and South Africa, where inflation is currently at 10.1% and 7.5% respectively. Price changes in these two countries therefore have a strong impact on the cost of goods and services in St Helena.
The full Statistical Bulletin and a detailed data file can be found on the St Helena Government website here: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/st-helena/statistics/the-economy/.
Notes to editor:
Although not part of the statistical data release, St Helena Government has allocated £1.6 million to help soften the impact of the rising cost of living. Actions include reduced Customs duties on certain essential items, especially those needed by low income households; improved targeting of the subsidy provided to transport cargo from Rupert’s to James Bay; an increase to Income Related Benefits and the Basic Island Pension of £2 a week from September; a substantial increase in the subsidy provided to Connect Ltd, to prevent a large increase in utility prices; and a utilities credit of up to £33 a quarter for families living below the minimum wage and with less than £4,000 in savings. More information on this package of support can be found on the St Helena Government website here: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/2022/press-releases/policy-changes-to-address-rising-cost-of-living.
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27 October 2022