Food costs up despite slump

| 17/08/2009

(CNS): In the face of the world economic downturn the cost of living in the Cayman Islands is still high, and while inflation has fallen Caymanians are faced with a whopping 7.5% increase in the average price of food, even though prices in the US have fallen dramatically. According to the Economics and Statistics Office’s (ESO) economic report for the first quarter of 2009, although the country is paying less on housing, clothing and transport, people are still facing increases when it comes to feeding the family.

The ESO figures revealed that the Consumer Price Index fell by 0.1%, when compared to March 2008, mainly due to lower average prices of housing reflecting the dampening effect of the global recession on prices in source markets, along with the local economic downturn. The number of property transfers fell by 21.5% while the total value slumped by 35.8%.

Although utilities and clothing costs also fell, key expenses rose, including medical costs (4.0%) and education (2.3%), household equipment (12.5%) and food. The average price of food items increased by 7.5%, fruits and vegetables increased by 21.1%, oils and fats by 20.1% meat 11.0% and bread & cereal by 11%.

Around the world the previously high food costs began falling mid 2008 and have continued to do so as a world staples such as corn, soya beans and wheat have dropped in price. In the US — from where Cayman imports most of its food — prices have fallen more than 1.8% over the last 12 months.

The ESO did not indicate whether shipping costs have increased dramatically to explain why Cayman’s food basket has increased so much given the world economic climate.

With prices going up and the recession digging deeper it was no surprise that merchandise imports fell by 5.9% to register at $203.2 million. The ESO also noted that work permits fell by 2.8%, largely on accountof declines in hotel and condominiums, financial services, business services and construction.

Although the weighted average lending rate fell to 6.71% from 9.29%, as the prime lending rate fell to 3.25%, the country’s money supply expanded by 41.9%. The ESO said this was due to strong growth in quasi-money comprising primarily of foreign currency deposits held by residents, indicating the possible shifting of residents’ funds to lower risk but liquid assets in the light of the global financial crisis.

While mutual funds fell compared to the previous quarter by 165 or 1.7%, and bank and trust company registrations continued on a downward trajectory by 2.5%, the Cayman Islands maintained its position in international banking as total assets of all registered banks ranked fifth in the world. Insurance licenses rose by 3.4% but stock exchange listings contracted by 13.3% to settle at 1,550 while stock market capitalization for specialist debt increased and new company registrations declined by 44.2% to total 1,880.

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  1. Angry Caymanian says:

     I would like to point out to you that most commonly used media houses (in the US) that allow comments DO NOT discriminate.


    As for America media houses unlike YAHOO and AOL and MSN and other forums you will find that every BLACK PERSON or AFRICAN AMERICANS  they talk about always has something to do with RACE!   I have never ever witness so many RACIST comments like I do on the America media forums.   Especially FOX NEWS THEY SURELY DONT LIKE BLACK PEOPLE THAT’S FOR SURE!   So please STOP saying that CNS is BIAS and worry about what goes on in your back door.


  2. Anonymous says:

     Wholesale prices drop more than expected in July

    CNS: I replaced the cut and pasted section with the link to the whole article

  3. Anonymous says:


    CNS-I know this won’t be posted as my previous comments were not published either….I think its VERY disconcerting that you are now monitoring the comments like a haphazard morality police.  NONE OF YOU stopped personal attacks on Mr Bush.  People consistently talked about his family, his weight, all very PERSONAL attacks that did nothing but incite further attacks & added nothing to a quality sharing of opinions . They’ve attacked many of the MLAs, the former government, criminals & you have allowed it!  Even in this comment section, people who don’t agree with Sir Henry or whoever he is are calling him stink, telling him to take a bath.  and CNS is even passing judgement on his comments too. 

    I would like to point out to you that most commonly used media houses (in the US) that allow comments DO NOT discriminate.  Check CNN daily and you will see people who don’t agree with a story make comments recommending for persons to be hung, shot, mutilated…all very offensive but alas freedom of speech prevails. To my knowledge they monitor for curse words and things like that, and what else I’m not 100% sure, but what IS published is the full gamut of opinions whether for or against. 

    Now, it seems, that CNS has opted to do the worse thing possible–only display comments that go along with what CNS wants!  so terribly sad.  And it begs the question, WHAT OTHER COMMENTS HAVE BEEN UN-POSTED OR REMOVED BY CNS AND WHY?!?!?!

    I’m writing this because I hope someone reads this and says, "I don’t agree with you but maybe you have a valid point."  Isn’t that the point of free speech? If I feel strongly enough about a topic and take the time to write a comment, who are you to judge my opinion with your own opinion?

    CNS just went from #1 in my book to, Eh-Just another Net News.

    CNS. The comments on CNS have always been moderated. I have just reposted a Viewpoint originally published in April, along with links to our comments policy (which invites readers to question my judgement on comments allowed). Hopefully, the VP and the policy explain the process, and there’s also a link to a NY Times article that has a good explanation of the different approaches to freedom of expression in various countries. It is certaibly not true that only comments that CNS agrees with are allowed but I do try to prevent CNS from becoming a platform for personal gripes, vendettas, gossip, etc as well as blatant propaganda. It’s harder than you think. Captain Morgan is using a pseudonym so you can tell him he smells as much as you like. If anyone wants to discuss moderating the comments, could you do so under the VP.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the young mother comments, God be with us all… I work my self to the ground in the last two years and not one raise, yet the people I worked for raised their services "becasue the cost has gone up" so what let the poor worker live in slavery, after all he is just a worker, the higher ups must take the month long vacations and their children must leave the rock for summer vacations etc.. As a new mother I went into Foster Savannah to buy Nido 1 for babies a can there cost CI$8.79, the Trigo MIel cost CI$8.00, then one day I decided to stop Cost U Less, and guess what? Their prices are HALF the Fosters price, someone needs to look into how Country Side FOsters is pricing their products, becasue there should not be such a price difference in items.. there are other items there that are priced way higher than the Fosters Airport, why is that? Trucking to SAvannah?

    I was in the BRac recently and I noticed that a lot of the items you buy there are EXPIRED! And yes very high priced!

    Maybe I should go to labor board and see what they can help me with? umm, no that wont work because they are all bought of by the higher up’s…. DONT WASTE YOUR TIME GOING TO THEM FOR ANYTHING. NOW THERE IS ONE DEPARTMENT THAT NEEDS OVERHAULING!

    • Bling Bling says:


      A novel idea….talk to your MLA’s about buying Bauxite from Jamaica as they can’t sell it now because the price of aluminum is so low……Then we can fill our yards with the good top soil and plant our own food….Also, remove the regulations prohobitting importation of items like fruits from Jamaica, Cuba and Hond so that we can get healthy organic food cheaper….I guess Fosters and Kirkconnells have alot to fear from the poor old little Jamaican higglers as they are the real hustler who can bring down the costs.    Oooh but they are going to say we can’t because of pest or some foolishness…but when the US is dripping with Swine Flu I don’t see them bannig travel there …..  all lies think about 50 years ago when anybody brought anything in on a ship and no one looked twice..and guess what local agri survived….Gov needs to take real action on agri and stop turning there head……Nice they got a market but now they more land and alot of soil….Ministry for Agri if your listening please get some good topsoil and lease a piece of the crown’s land to some farmers or help out to develop farms here..God know we need it….Also, another reason why the price is soo high is because retailers over built thinking the boom would continue and now they have real high overheads…shipping rates can’t comment haven’t studied but in general dry balatic rates have come down significantly but I guess it is dependant on routes although I must say the general size of ships in GT harbour is alot smaller then 2-3 years ago


  5. Anonymous says:

    You cant even get a message out of Honduras nowadays.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sir Henry Morgan:

    You have to learn to play nice and not insult people.

    You jackass.

    Your Friend,

    B. I. Teme

    PS – take a bath.  You stink.



  7.  Another way to conquer the Utility Bills and offset your cost of living is to buy shares in the utilities companies.

    I just bought stocks in CWCO, through my TDAmeritrade account. Only 7, but it’s a start and they rose 1.86% today.

    And to think, every time Sir Henry Mofo takes a bath (if he takes a bath), he puts money in my pocket. 

    What a loser. 

    Dustin M. Jackson


  8. Anonymous says:

    The only solution to high food prices is to put price controls on the shipping companies operating in to the Cayman Islands.

    A 20 foot container can be shipped from Miami to China for less than half the cost to ship that same container from Miami to Grand Cayman.

    2 days travel compared to over 30 days travel. Justify that one if you can.

    The Local Merchants need to operate their own shipping service in th same way they started their own trucking service.

    The only people on the Cayman Islands with lots of cash to buy up everyones else property cheap are the people in the shipping industry.

    I guess like Politics they are not in the business for their health.

  9. Malli Scott says:

    To the post on the brac  with corned beef  6.00 who are we gonna complain to? its the MLA store that we buying it from, he had watermelons 24.00 and market place for 8.00 check that out!!!!!

  10. Angry Caymanian says:

    Listen my Caymanian people, lets get this right here.   We can understand the reason for the food cost going up they have reasons why?   But what we dont understand is "CUC AND THEIR TRIPLE BILLS EACH MONTH KILLING US ALL OFF!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, let’s distract attention from the merchants and have a go at CUC.  After all, the merchants can justify huge profit margins. They are supposed to be rich with names like Merren, Kirkconnell and Foster. It doesn’t matter that food costs have fallen elsewhere. CUC is only pretending that the price of oil is creeping up again.   

  11. Anonymous says:

    Trying Living In Teh Brac Or Little Cayman!!!

    Prices here are almost DOUBLE the Price of Grand Cayman!!!!

    A Tin of Corn Beef CI$6.00 a tin, One Apple CI$1.75, Bread CI$6..00 & the list goes on!!!

    Fritters & Fish (well Maybe fritters as the cost of gas is soooo expensive here to even go fishing)…

    Consumer Protection Really is a MUST soon.



    The solution is simple.

    While most people in Cayman bad mouth Honduras, they don’t realise that the cost of produce here is a drop in the bucket compared to the US.

    The produce is 10 times fresher and cheaper in Honduras, and the use of pesticides is so much lower (therefore your food is less cancerous).

    In decades past, Honduras was THE food source for the Cayman Islands. You need to forget about the United States as a food source and use the available region.

    Just imagine, lettuce picked yesterday, put on Cayman Airways cargo today, and on your Dinner table tomorrow. Now that’s FRESH.

    You can also find fresh eggs, milks and bread products, bananas, plantains, seafood etc… for a fraction of the cost in the US.

    It’s a different world today, from yesterday, folks….

    Regards to all,

    Dustin M. Jackson


    • Makam says:

      An even simpler solution. Why don’t we all leave and go live in Honduras……well why????

  13. micheal Western says:


    what explanation will they give for the increase fuel has been falling in particular before summer, and some of the goods listed in food stuff with increases in cost are duty free so what is the reason for the increase?

    this same supermarkets increased there stories since hurricane Ivan.

    • Why am I not surprised.... says:

      Not to forget home grown/organic foods grown right here on the island being sold in the stores for more than the stuff they import… can’t work that one out either… I guess thats the price you pay for trying to support the local economy and eat healthy.  And they certainly aren’t paying that amount to the local farmers they buy their produce from.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It’s gonna be higher once UDP puts the Cargo Dock in East End!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I agree that some of the retailers are greedy but take US$10 and add 20% duty on the cost of the goods plus the freight, then add trucking and you will find that it is not cheap to be in business in the Cayman Islands. Added to all of this is the high cost of commercial rental property, electricity, water, telephone, wages, pension contributions, health insurance, gas …………… and the list goes on and on and on. You then have to factor in that compared to the United States/Europe our population base is a drop in the bucket so you cannot depend on any sort of volume of sales to carry you through. Too many of the same businesses trying to compete for the same dollar is not always a good thing – yes competition can drive prices down but the reality of it is you cannot sell your product at a loss. Simple economics is ruling this right now.

    • Why am I not surprised.... says:

      Yes, I completely understand the additional costs ofimporting foods here, not to mention the supply and demand situation on a small island such as this.  But the US$10 in the states I refer to is the consumer price, most retailers get a discount on that, yet they are still insistent on 100% + mark-ups on the consumer price which is absolutely ridiculous, when a 50-60% mark up would more than cater for import and other costs, and include a (reasonable) element of profit.  Try and justify it all you want – its still unreasonable, but then again, if the people are just complacent and never say or do anything about it, then I guess their hard-earned money can continue to be exploited in such a way.

    • Anonymous says:

      The poster Mon, 08/17/2009 – 10:06. Are you a retailer trying to justify the greed of the supermarkets? I ama small retailer and I know the cost of importing. On average,  if something costs US$1.00 then the landed cost is CI$1.20. That includes US trucking, cost of loading the container, freight (on the most expensive shipping route in the world), customs duty, port charges, trucking in Cayman, and forklift and labour unloading in Cayman. The large supermarkets pay less than this because they have discounted freight rates since their volume is 30 – 50 containers per week.

      Then. Your argument about the population base being small, is not valid. We have approximately 60,000 people who need to eat 3 times per day and we have 3 main supermarkets to meet their needs. This is a higher customer to supermarket ratio than say – any city in Florida.

      I agree with your argument "simple economics is ruling right now" – yes the basis of that economics is buy expensive basic food supplies, starve, or fly off the island everytime you want food to eat.



  16. Why am I not surprised.... says:

    Retailers here in Cayman are greedy.  They mark up their costs unreasonably.  Something that cost US$10 in the states costs CI$20 here… its common practice all across the island.  So why the greedy retailers continue to pocket their extortionate profits, many of us are having to give up our rented apartments and move to share rooms in a house… and landlords are as bad!

    • Concerned young caymanian mother says:

      Ain’t this the truth…… I’m going through it now…..

      And guess what…… no ones’ salary is being raised and sooooooo many people are getting laid off of their jobs…….

      For sure 2010 is going to be HELL>…… No jobs, no money = More Drugs, robberies, murders etc………….

      God be with us!!!


      • Anon says:

        Yup fi true

        I for one got virtually no pay rise last year and nothing at all this year.  The cost of living goes up, the landlord won’t reduce the rent, so out I go from my lovely apartment to live in shared accommodation… the last thing I wanted to do when I’ve worked so hard to get where I am today.