Colombia’s food prices at the wholesale level rose 0.52% in December,
sharply lower than the 0.93% registered in the same month last year,
Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias told reporters Monday.
“We have seen a very positive behavior of food prices in December
that are helping increased the purchasing power of Colombians,” said
Arias. “For the first time in many months, we are seeing a reduction of
prices of cereal such as rice and lentil.”
According to Sipsa, a government organization that collects
agriculture price data, the supply of cereals increased 18% during the
third week of December.
“The supply of all types of food products increased (in the third
week of December) especially those of vegetables and cereals adding
more than 2,000 tons of additional products,” Sipsa said in a report
released Dec. 20.
According to Arias, the prices of fruits also fell 1.28% in December while dairy products decreased 1.10% in the month.
However, prices of vegetables and tubers in December increased 5.35%
and 2.89%, respectively, hit by torrential rains during the first half
of the month, destroying crops in the inland states of Cundinamarca and
Boyaca, Arias said. Sipsa said in a report released Dec. 13 that
vegetable prices, including peas, tomatoes and onions increased in the
first week of December, hit by heavy rains as crops in the northeastern
state of Santander and in the center states of Boyaca and Cundinamarca
Food prices at the wholesale level rose 14.24% in 2008, Arias noted.
The closely watched food sector, which has a 30% weighting in the
consumer price index, is the heaviest-weighted sector in the CPI.
According to a Dow Jones Newswires’ survey of 10 analysts, Colombian
consumer prices likely increased in December by 0.275%, much slower
than the 0.49% in the same month last year and in line with November’s
increase of 0.28%.
Colombia’s National Statistics Department, or DANE, is scheduled to release December and 2008 inflation figures on Friday. (Dow Jones)