12 Jun 2008

Inflation hits Marshall Islands families

8:30 am on 12 June 2008

Middle class urban islanders in Majuro, capital of the Marshall Islands, are increasingly hard-pressed to put food on the table, let alone use air conditioners or refrigerators as double-digit inflation hits home.

The government¹s chief planner Carl Hacker says lower-income households have been especially hard-hit by recent food inflation.

Retail prices for rice - the main staple food in the country, and entirely imported - have jumped from under $8 a 9 kilo bag to over $10 since April and retailers say the price will likely hit $15 by July.

Electricity rates for homes have risen 78 percent since November last

year, rising from 23 cents a kilowatt hour to 41 cents as of last weekend.

The government statistics office reported in late May that inflation made

its first-ever double digit jump in the first quarter of 2008, as prices

increased over 10 percent ‹ more than double the 4.4 percent inflation for

all of 2007