Of the 12 groups of National Urban Consumer Price Index (CPI) items and services used to measure this indicator, seven saw increases in 2021. Among them, the two with the greatest weight in the structure of the CPI on information from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) disclosed in the financial account 2021.
In 2021, National Urban’s price level rose to 1.6% in a scenario of greater commercial opening, reactivation of employment contracts and easing of the confinement measures introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a major impact on the economy in general. mainly related to the increase in fuel prices in the face of greater global demand.
This behavior comes after two consecutive years of negative swings: 2019 at -0.36% and 2020 at -1.55%, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC).
Among the products that rose the most were groceries and non-alcoholic beverages (up 1.6%), with chicken (7.5%) and canned beans (7.3%) rising in price. Added to this is transport (9.2%), which has a greater impact on the increase in fuel prices for automobiles (35.2%), due to higher international prices as a result of growing demand due to the reactivation of the economy.
The other groups with an increase were: restaurants and hotels (1.0%), health (0.71%), alcoholic beverages and tobacco (0.48%), furniture (0.48%) and miscellaneous goods and services ( 0.28%).
The declines occurred in the CPI of the remaining 5 groups: housing, water, electricity and gas (3.7%), due to a lower price of electricity (-17.6%), given the subsidies provided by the state to support the economy of households, especially those affected by the pandemic.
Also education (0.86%), due to a reduction in higher education prices (-5.8%), due to fee adjustments and an attempt to maintain or avoid a reduction in university student participation.
Clothing and footwear also suffered a decline (0.45%), mainly due to girls’ footwear (-1.5%); Communication (0.18%), with a fall in the price of telephones (-2.2%), due to continuous promotions AND in leisure and culture (0.10%), due to a greater reduction in the cost of sound carriers (2.3 %). .
The weights used to calculate the National Urban Index are based on the consumption expenditures of 8,751 households of different monthly income levels collected as part of the “Household Income and Expenditure Survey” in the districts of Panama and San Miguelito and some urban areas of the districts of Colón, La Chorrera and Arraiján, Penonomé and Aguadulce, Chitré and Las Tablas, Santiago, David and Changuinola 2007/08.
The MEF confirmed before the National Assembly’s Economic and Financial Affairs Commission that the national government committed $336.8 million to the energy line, the second-highest amount subsidy, a figure 67.2% higher than the $201.5 million approved in 2020. with a variance of $135.4 million; In addition, it covers 14% of total household subsidies ($2,311.5 million).
Breaking down the electricity subsidy, it breaks it down into three parts: the Tariff Stabilization Fund (FET), the Extraordinary FET for covid-19 (FET covid-19) and the Western Tariff Fund (FTO).
For fiscal year 2021, the government allocated a total of $186.9 million to the FET; for the Extraordinary FET for Covid-19, $128.8 million; and for the FTO, $21.2 million. The FET Covid-19 is another government-approved measure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been extended to 2021, the validity of these measures to guarantee uninterrupted service to citizens. .
According to MEF, the $135.4 million increase was mainly due to increases in electricity prices and increases in fuel consumption, among other factors.
Fuel costs are affecting the Panamanians’ staple food basket and the latest report of the products that increased the most in supermarkets in the month of April 2022 compared to the month of March is in order of their hierarchy or their impact on the total The costs for the CBFA are as follows: Corvina fish $1.43 per kilogram, cassava $0.27 per kilogram, lentils $0.44 per kilogram, conventional ground coffee $0.14 per 425 gram can, and tuna in water $0.06 per 142 gram can.
Referring to the observed price fluctuations in mini-supermarkets and grocery stores (routes), we can mention the products that increased the most: cassava $0.26 per kilogram, soup meat (rib) $0.46 per kilogram, babilla (beef) US$0.44 per kilogram, the whole chicken without feathers with skin US$0.04 per kilogram, and the medium red apple US$0.02 per piece as shown in the table above.
In supermarkets, the biggest declines occurred in April: red apple fell -$0.06 per unit, low-salt pressed white cheese -$0.65 per kilogram, soda in plastic containers -$0.20 per liter, the national Mortadella with Pepper (packaged) – $0.61 per kilogram and Soup Meat (ribs) – $0.19 per kilogram. In mini-supermarkets and grocery stores (routes), the following products fell: low-salt pressed white cheese – 1.79 B/kg, Cajeta corn flakes – $0.58, box of 300 g, chicken thighs with skin – $0.32/kg , lettuce – $0.26 per kilogram, Kale – $0.16 per kilogram.
In order to provide consumers with price information on the various essential goods and services for consumption, ACODECO monitors the prices of CBFA products on a monthly basis and covers the following areas: Bella Vista, Bethania, Juan Diaz, Parque Lefevre, Pueblo Nuevo, San Francisco , San Miguelito, Santa Ana and Calidonia, East Panama. A total of 51 supermarkets and 39 street establishments (mini-supermarkets and grocery stores) were visited in these areas. A total of 90 companies