According to a recent report released by the Statistics Bureau, the Maldives experienced a notable increase in the price of food and beverages last year, with a rise of 6.17 per cent. This development is part of a broader inflationary trend in the country, as indicated by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report. Overall, the CPI for all groups rose by 2.02 per cent through the year to December 2023, slightly lower than the 2.13 per cent increase recorded up to November 2023.
The report detailed a significant increase in the price of several key food items in December 2023 compared to the previous month. Notably, the price of onions saw a sharp rise of 32.11 per cent, which was a major contributor to the overall increase in food and non-alcoholic beverage prices, which went up by 1.4 per cent. Other items that saw price increases include curry leaves, eggs, limes, potatoes, tuna, chilli, smoked fish, dry coconuts, frozen chicken, reef fish, tea bags, milk powder, and fish paste.
However, the rise in food prices was partially offset by the decrease in the price of certain items. Oranges, for instance, saw a significant price drop of 10.62 per cent. Other products that became more affordable include ginger, apples, and bananas.
A specific focus was given to the price of fish, a staple in the Maldivian diet, which rose by nine per cent in 2023. In December 2023 alone, the price of fish increased by 1.51 per cent compared to the previous month. This increase was attributed mainly to the higher prices of tuna, reef fish, smoked fish, and fish paste.
The report also sheds light on other sectors. There was an observed increase in the prices of insurance and financial services, as well as restaurant and accommodation services. Conversely, the price of information and communication services decreased by 10.56 per cent.
This CPI report provides crucial insights into the changing cost of living in the Maldives, reflecting the dynamic nature of the market and the varying factors influencing consumer prices. The data is vital for both consumers and policymakers, helping to understand economic trends and make informed decisions.