The Puerto Rico Labor Department has released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month of February 2022. This index is the main indicator for price changes on the island. Year over year change in this index is referred to as the island’s inflation rate.
The index stood at 125.38 in February. Compared to 2021, this is an increase of 4.7%. This is the largest year over year increase seen in the CPI since January 2010, when it increased by 4.9%. The average increase seen in the CPI during 2019 was 0.1%. This is the 20th consecutive month with an increase relative to the previous month.
The supply chain issues that have been causing price increases since the beginning of the pandemic have not yet been alleviated. China’s recent response to increasing COVID cases in major industrial cities will further exacerbate delays and price increases. The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine will also contribute to increasing prices, particularly food and energy.
|Categories with largest increases||Increase|
|Fuel for engines||32%|
|Lodging away from home||27.3%|
|Fats, oils, and dressings||21.1%|
The categories with the largest year over year increases in the index were fuel for engines (32%), lodging away from home (27.3%), and fats, oils, and dressings (21.1%). Categories that saw year over year decreases include footwear (-3.3%), information services (-2.7%), and over the counter medicine (-0.8%).
The categories with the largest month over month increases in the index were eggs (8.4%), lodging away from home (7%), and fuel for engines (5%). The categories with the largest month over month decreases were menswear (-1.3%), cereals and cereal products (-0.7%), and children’s clothing (-0.5%).
Food and beverage increased by 6.9% compared to 2021. Some of the largest increases were in meat, poultry, fish, and eggs (11.4%), other food at home (11.2%), and food at home (7.9%).
Housing went up by 2.2%. The largest increases were in lodging away from home (27.3%), fuels (18.4%), and household services (7.3%).
Apparel increased by 0.7%. The largest increase was in women’s and girl’s apparel (3.3%), while the largest decrease was in footwear (-3.3%).
Medical care increased by 1.7%, while entertainment increased by 1.6%. Education and communication increased by 1.8% while other goods and services increased by 1.9%.
The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on both supply chains and prices at an international level. Food prices have increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, and there have been concerns that the registered increase since February 2020, 8.2%, underestimates actual price increases seen in supermarkets. Wheat futures have already increased substantially, and a shift in demand towards other grains could lead to increased food prices across the board. This high level of inflation can be expected to last for the next months.