The June CPI ‘splained

Every once in a while I read the CBS Consumer Price Index Report press releases, not every month, but a few times a year. I always find them interesting, and I am often intrigued with the question whether I am the only person on the island who bothers.

I hope not, I am confident our politicians read them, as part of having the finger on the pulse. One thing is sure, the blabber-mouth FORMER Minister of Finance and Energy, did not bother, ever, otherwise he would never have stuck this country in the mess that he did.

Back to CBS. Leo da Silva Menezes, Head of Business Statistics Division, puts reports together at the CBS, the Canadian Bible Society, sorry, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and I always picture him buried under papers with his calculator, like some ancient astronomer.

I called him about June 2019, the CPI went up 2.8% that month, 4.7% in the last twelve months, that means that prices have gone up.

I read the report together with Leo. He was holding my hand over the phone, and ‘splaining things.


This hike in the consumer index is mostly due to an 11% increase in Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, and this is what the reports says: Over the last twelve (12) months, the “Food & catering services” has increased by 11.9%. The “Food at home” index showed an increase of 13.5%. The “Potatoes and other tubers” index increased by 27.6%, the largest increase among the “Food at home” food groups. I say avocado probably among them.

Surprise, the only fruit getting a tiny bit cheaper are oranges, lemons and mandarins.


Apparently, our electricity prices have remained the same since 2017, while water prices remained unchanged since 2013, when Aruba started hedging. True we lost our shirts at the beginning, but prices remained stable for the consumer, for the last 6 years.


The price of Diesel was Awg 0.901 per liter in 2001. Then it crept up to a peak of Awg 2.100 in 2012, slipped to Awg 1.311 in 2016, and has climbed to Awg 1.837 in June 2019. Remember when gasoline was Awg 1.283 per liter? That was in 2001. It’s up to 2.095 now.


We, as individuals, spend close to NADA on education. It is the LOWEST budget item on the list of spendings.

Subsistence Level

The CBS pinpoint Subsistence Level for a single adult at Awg 2,281 a month, and for a family, 2 adults and 2 kids, at Awg 4,790, in June 2019. Which means that according to average that is the minimum income required.

Leo writes: “The subsistence level is the minimum level of income which is perceived necessary to achieve an adequate standard of living in a given country. The subsistence level is usually determined by estimating the cost of all the essential resources that an average adult consumes in one month or year, and it varies according to the price of food, clothing, housing, transport and other items in the “basket”.

HOWEVER, if you are an adult, living alone at a subsistence level, in June 2019, you need Awg 2,281 to make ends meet. The minimum salary is Awg 1,762, which means you have a deficit of Awg 519 every month, and unless the kids help you, you’re in the poor house. 

We’re gearing up for the next censo. Leo, prepare to hold my hand through it.


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August 09, 2019
Rona Coster