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Inflation continues to decline despite 2nd quarter spike in fuel prices

woman pumping gasoline into her car
Lower gas prices in the U.S. may be reflected locally next quarter
reporters@samoanews.com

ago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa’s highest expenditure group for the second quarter of 2023, is Transportation — which increased by 5.2%, followed by the Food Group with a 1.6% increase, according to the ASG Commerce Department’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the 2nd quarter — the period of April to June 2023.

The CPI report, compiled and released by DOC’s Statistics & Analysis Division, also says that “American Samoa’s inflation rate continues a downward trend” with a current inflation rate of 4.9% — compared to 5.6% in the last quarter.

According to the report, the Transportation index is majorly affected by changes in unleaded gas and diesel prices. Data in the CPI shows that average gas price in the 2nd quarter was at $4.50 per gallon - compared to $4.38 per gallon in the last quarter. For diesel fuel, average price at $4.84 per gallon, which increased from $4.70 per gallon in the first-quarter.

In the separate CPI newsletter, DOC explained that Transportation has now increased in this quarter by 5.2% but its annual percentage change registers a 1% increase. “Meaning the prices this quarter are similar to what they were in the same quarter of last year,” it says.

For the Food group, the newsletter reported an increase for the 2nd quarter, and noted that the “annual cost” of food has gone up by 7.3%. Food items that increased by more than 10% this quarter were, Eggs (19.6%), Milk (10.5%) and Coffee Creamer (10.1%). Food items that have decreased are Case Chicken (-3.3%), Chicken Wings (-6.0 %), Oranges (-13.4%) and Lamb Neck (-5.03 %). In total, 29% of food commodities monitored in the CPI show no change, 53% have increased and 18% have decreased.

The CPI report — for the 2nd quarter — provides a summary of other groups. It says that Alcohol decreased by 3.2 points (or 1.9%), while Apparel remained the same as the previous quarter.

It also says that a “notable change” observed during this quarter was the packaging of Vailima beer. More commonly seen around stores are Vailima cans, no longer the familiar green glass bottles. This change in packaging may affect the commodity’s retail price. “Appropriate data (price) collecting measures have been taken to consider this specific commodity’s change,” according to DOC.

For Medical Care group, it decreased by 2.4%. The item most responsible for the decrease is non-prescription drugs.

For “Other Goods and Services” group, it did not significantly change. The item that increased by 2.2% was Cosmetics. “Cosmetics seem to be very popular, and consumers are continuously buying them,” DOC said.

As for the Recreation Group — cat food, and bingo papers are the main contributors to this increase, according to the CPI report, which also provides additional data for each commodities’ group as well as graphics.

Meanwhile, the CPI reports points out that the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a major decrease in U.S. gasoline prices, 26.5% (for June — not seasonally adjusted). While gas prices have decreased, Food has increased by 5.6%.

For additional information on the CPI report, contact DOC Statistics and Analysis Division at 633-0120 or email americansamoastatistics@doc.as.gov