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Food items lead the increase in 4th quarter Consumer Price Index

Paper bag with groceries showing

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Four food items increased in price in the fourth quarter of 2022, while the cost for a case of chicken for the same quarter — October to December 2022 — declined, according to the 4th Quarter 2022 Consumer Price Index (CPI) released last week by the Commerce Department’s Statistics and Analysis Division.

The cost of food in the territory has been a major concern voiced by consumers and raised by lawmakers since the Fono convened in early January for the new 38th Legislature.

According to the CPI report, the group with the highest annual percentage of change, as usual, is Food, which increased by 13% in the 4th quarter compared to the previous year’s quarter. In the 4th quarter of 2022, the Food group recorded a quarterly increase of 2.2%.

Food items with the biggest increase this quarter are, apples (24%), mayonnaise (13%), potatoes (14%), and tomatoes (13%). This quarter the price of a case of chicken went down by 15%.

Items such as cucumbers, bananas, butter and bottled water remain the same. Items that decreased only slightly include assorted cookies, boneless beef, candies, mackerel and cake mixes.


The report states that the Alcoholic Beverages Group recorded an increased of 1.5%. The annual increase for this group registered at 7.1%.


For the Housing Group, it increased by only 1%. A noticeable change comes from a drop in the cost per kilowatt hour (KWH) for electricity, which was recorded at $0.49 in the month of November. Cost per KWH in the third quarter peaked to $0.51, while it was at 0.35 at the start of 2022. 

“Annually, this group has gone up by 12%,” the report points out.


In the Apparel Group, it has gone up slightly by 1.5% for the 4th quarter. “It’s annual increase is observed at 5.3%,” the report said and noted that most items across the group have remained relatively at the same price.

The few items that have increased are women’s undergarments (6.5%) and T-shirts (5.2%).


Regarding the Transportation Group — it recorded an increase of 2.5% in the 3rd quarter, but decreased by 2.7% in the 4th quarter, which is evident in the drop in unleaded gas and diesel prices.

Data in the report shows that third quarter unleaded gasoline average was $5.67 per gallon and diesel at $6.37 per gallon, but it dropped in the 4th quarter, average for gasoline to $4.91 per gallon and diesel at $5.35 per gallon.


Medical Care prices such as Emergency Room charges remain constant. Most of this quarter’s increase (0.9%) stems once again from the prices of non-prescription drugs (5.6%).

Since the beginning of 2022, “non-prescription drugs have continued to be the main contributor to this group’s increase,” the report says.


Items in the Recreation Group there was an increase in Sewing/Tailored Puletasi-Dresses (up by 1.5%) and old electronics such as MP3 Players (10%).

According to the report, changes in prices for out-dated items such as MP3s will be discussed at a later date.


The Education and Communication Group increased by 0.7% and the main reason is the rise in the smartphone prices (4%) and some school supplies.

Technological items such as smartphones and laptops ultimately change annually when new versions or updates are released.

“For this reason you can expect this group to increase, with all other factors remaining constant,” the report pointed out.


This group has only increased by 0.1% in the 4th quarter. Items that have contributed to the overall annual increase (2.7%) are common household items such as soap, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner.