14ymedio, Madrid, 14 October 2022 — Inflation in Cuba reached its ceiling in April this year, but prices don’t stop rising compared to 2021. The monthly increase in consumer prices, 2.33%, continued in August but is more moderate than in July (3.35%) and June (2.83%), and much lower than in April and May, when it was 3.54% and 3.55% respectively.
However, far from taking a break, the year-on-year variation rises and already stands at 34.31%, compared to 32.32% last month. According to official data, prices have already risen by 20.01% so far this year.
Once again, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is pushed by the rise in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, which increase by 2.74%. Although apparently the situation improves compared to last month, when they grew by 4.67%, the accumulated variation in the year is 30.89%, and compared to last year, Cubans are paying 54.19% more than in 2021 for these products, which are of primary importance.
In detail, lamb is the product that increased the most this month, with an increase of 5.04%. It’s followed, curiously, by garlic, with 3.81%, together with rice (which increases its price again by 2.74%), the only plant product that is more expensive in a prominent way. Pork, although the price increases again but discreetly (2.70% this month), accumulates a huge annual increase, with 20.53%, well above all the selected food indicators.
Restaurants and hotels are the sector that registers the highest increase this August, with 3.67%, and in annual and year-on-year terms, it’s the second area with the highest increase, with 27.72% in 2022, and 36.88% compared to last year.
Also in general terms, alcoholic beverages and tobacco are on the podium of products that push the rise of the CPI. This month they rose less, 1.85% (compared to 6% in July), but together since January they reached 21.60%, and the year-on-year variation is almost 40%.
One of the services that increased its prices the most this August, which is also essential for citizens, is transport. Prices increased by 2.43%, and although the year-on-year increase is not as high as those mentioned above, it costs Cubans 16.64% more to use transport than a year ago.
The transports that recorded the highest increases, possibly stimulated by the holiday period and fuel shortage, were interprovincial, especially taxis, with a monthly variation of 19.26% and other types (vans, trucks, etc.), with 13.18%.
The spectacular rise in culture and recreation is striking. Cubans who wish to attend a performance, concert or museum must pay up to 67.96% more than in 2021, despite the fact that in August the increase was only 0.95%.
In an intermediate sector of increases are furniture and household items, housing services, various goods, and services and education. All of them register increases of between 1.25% and 1.54%, with year-on-year increases of between 9.76% and 11.68%.
In the line are communications (0.03% monthly and 0.09% both accumulated and year-on-year) and health, which grows by 0.18% and accumulates 0.95% compared to the previous one. Finally, clothing and footwear increased this month by only 0.43%, although so far in 2022 the growth is 2.39% compared to the previous year’s 4.15%.
All in all, there is no section that doesn’t record increases, and Cubans continue to see how their salaries are increasingly serving them less. According to Cuban economist Pedro Monreal, “now 100 pesos are needed to buy food that cost 65 pesos in August 2021 (according to official data).”
In the black market, where most Cubans are supplied, the situation is much worse. American economist Steve Hanke, who creates balance sheets taking into account the parallel economy, pointed out on October 5 that the increase in the CPI at the end of September was approximately 208% year-on-year, with Cuba being the second country with the highest price increase in the world, after Venezuela and far ahead of Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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