Import prices edge up
The Import Price Index for the March 2020 quarter has increased slightly and by 0.1 per cent from the December 2019 quarter.
The findings were revealed in a recent report issued by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics measuring the changes in the cost, insurance, and freight prices of imports of merchandise into Samoa.
The 0.1 per cent increase was mainly driven by a 7.1 per cent increase in the category of animal and vegetable products of up to 0.8 per cent, following a steep, 5.6 per cent fall during the previous quarter.
The current increase was led by higher prices of imported meat products of up to 12.4 per cent, which reflects higher prices of poultry meat up to 16 per cent.
In comparison with the March quarter last year, the price index for imported meats this year is 7.2 per cent.
The prices of imported dairy products have decreased by 4.1 per cent, reflecting the lower prices of liquid milk (down by 7.4 per cent) and butter (down by 3 per cent). In comparison with the same quarter last year, the current live animals and animal products index is up by some 5 per cent.
Food and beverage import prices recorded a decrease of 3 per cent on a quarterly basis and 1.5 per cent year-on-year.
The current decline was also driven by the lower prices of cereals (down 6.2 per cent); canned meat (down by 1.7 percent); canned beef specifically (down by 0.8 per cent), canned fish (down 2.7 per cent), pasta (down 3.6 per cent) and bread (down 8.3 per cent).
Import prices for sugar, by contrast, rose by 2 per cent when compared on a quarterly basis.
Animals or vegetable fats and oils’ import prices rose to 2.8 per cent in the March 2020 quarter, up from 4 per cent fall in the December 2019 quarter.
The current increase was influenced by higher prices of sunflower oil (up 6.2 per cent) and margarine (up 1.3 per cent). The prices of vegetable oil decreased when compared to the December 2019 quarter (down 2.3 per cent). When compared with the March 2019 quarter, the current quarter's animal or vegetable fats and oil index increased 0.6 per cent.
According to the Bureau, its new Import Price Index introduces a new base period for measurement. Items selected for the index have been selected for their overall importance to imports as a whole.
It is composed of the categories mentioned above, including live animals and animal products; vegetable products; animal or vegetable fats and oils; food and beverages; and mineral products.
The Bureau says the changes have been made to better reflect changes to imported commodities.