Saturday, March 2, 2013

Inflation at 7.3% for January; food inflation 13.8%

Data from the Central Statistical Office reveal that headline inflation, as measured by the twelve-month increase in the Index of Retail Prices, stood at 7.3 percent in January 2013, slightly up from 7.2 percent in December 2012.

On a monthly basis, headline inflation rose by 2.6 percent in January 2013 following a decline of 0.8 percent in December 2012.

Food inflation accelerated to 13.8 per cent (year-on-year) in January 2013 compared with 12.7 percent in the previous month.

This was primarily due to faster price increases for vegetables (27.6 percent from 26.8 percent in December), food products not elsewhere classified (24.4 percent from 18.8 percent), meat (9.6 percent from 8.5 percent), oils and fats (2.8 percent from 2.7 percent), and milk, cheese and eggs (0.9 percent from 0.3 percent).

Core inflation, which excludes food prices, slowed to 2.2 percent in January 2013, from 3.1 percent inDecember 2012.

There were slower price increases in most of the major components of core inflation including alcoholic beverages and tobacco (2.5 percent),clothing and footwear (2.9 percent), housing and utilities (0.1 percent), recreation and culture (2.0 percent), and hotels and restaurants (4.0 percent).

Meanwhile, costs related to health care and transportation rose faster in January 2013 by 6.1 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

After exhibiting a slow but steady rise, there was an unexpected slowdown in private sector credit towards the end of 2012.

On a year-on-year basis, private sector credit granted by the consolidated financial system decelerated to 2.1 percent in December 2012 from 3.8 per cent in November.

Growth in consumer credit slipped to 2.4 percent from 3.1 percent, while business lending declined by 0.8 percent following a 2.6 percent rise in November.

On the other hand, real estate mortgage lending continued to be robust, expanding by 11.2 percent in December 2012.

High net domestic fiscal injections contributed to a sharp build up in financial system liquidity in February 2013.

Commercial banks’ holdings of excess reserves at the Central Bank climbed to a daily average $5,132.5 million in February 2013 from $3,432.3 million in January.

In this context, the inter-bank market was inactive in February as commercial banks were sufficiently liquid to meet all their short-term funding needs.

The Central Bank remained active in the market addressing the excess liquidity situation through ope nmarket operations.

Sales of foreign exchange to authorised dealers also helped to contain excess liquidity. In the coming months, the Bank intends to step up its efforts to manage the build-up of system liquidity.

Short-term interest rates remained depressed. The rate on Trinidad and Tobago Government three-month securities declined from 0.40 percent in January to 0.24 percent in February 2013, while the rate on US three-month treasury bills rose from 0.08 to 0.13 per cent.

These movements resulted in a narrowing of the differential between TT and US three-month interest rates to 0.11 percent from 0.32 percent in January.

With underlying inflationary pressures still well contained and continuing expectation for a turnaround in economic activity in 2013, the Bank views its present accommodative monetary stance as appropriate.

In this context, the Bank has decided to maintain the ‘repo’ rate at 2.75 percent. The Bank will continue to keep economic and monetary conditions under close review in the coming months.

The next ‘repo’ rate announcement is scheduled for March 22, 2013.

Courtesy the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai