A Matter of Numbers
Niue Statistics has released the Niue Consumer Price Index for quarter ending September 2017.
There has been a 1.76% movement in the index since June; in simple terms consumers has paid 1.76% higher for goods and services but only for those goods and services that are included in the index. Niue Statistics has attributed the upward movement in the Index to an increase in departure tax, normal airfares and alcohol and tobacco.
Another way of looking the CPI is to use it as an indication of inflationary pressures facing the island. Using the September quarter of 2003 as the base, $100 of goods and services then would now cost about $160. At one time the CPI played a vital role in deciding on whether there is to be a “cost of living adjustment”, i.e. a pay rise across the board for all public servants; no such thing as performance based bonus in those days.
Niue Stats has also released the island’s International Merchandise Trade Statistics, i.e. balance of trade statistics. No surprises here; we import far more than we export. Almost 100% of our trade is with New Zealand.
For the year 2016 we imported $19.3 million and exported $1.8 million giving the island a trade deficit of $17.5 million. Most people would want to know if this is good, bad or indifferent. The short answer to that is that there’s little we can do about it. If we had our own currency and we’re producing a commodity or commodities in competition with others in international trade and we had multiple trading partners then yes we should be worried.
From time to time one or two of our policy makers have voiced their opinion that we should at least make an attempt to be self-sufficient in some commodities and may be export some to NZ. This could provide jobs.
But what can we produce? And even if we did find a commodity to produce, would it be cheaper than importing it? So unless we can find that elusive vent-hole that is said to have deposited traces of valuable minerals on the island, I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it.
If you need more information please contact Statistics Niue –
PH: +683 4219