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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Inflation is still a major concern in Hawaii, where rising prices are putting pressure on families already living paycheck to paycheck.

But there is good news.

Economists predict that inflation here should fall quickly, returning to normal levels in less than a year.

Carl Bonham of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Economic Research says the global war on recession is already dragging on in the islands.

“We’ve seen big, big moves in inflation this week,” Bonham said, “so we’re kind of optimistic.” We saw inflation come down a bit more than expected.”

Residents say that inflation is changing their spending habits.

Resident Shannon Kobuke said inflation has largely led to caution.

“We were going to Sam’s Club and Costco a lot more and eating at home, not going out as much,” she said.

Susan Tracy, who recently retired and now lives with her mother, is more concerned about future prices.

“I hope it stabilizes,” he said. “I know it’s all cost and demand, and it depends on what it is.”

Bonham said falling energy prices would account for much of the slowdown in inflation on the islands.

“We haven’t seen gas prices come down that much in Hawaii yet,” Bonham said. “The price of our gas has decreased by 10 percent. In the continent, they fell by 50%. And, you know, even though our prices may be lagging, they’re catching up, and our gas prices are going to keep going down, and our electricity prices are going to go down because of oil.”

Bonham said global oil prices are now close to where they were before the Ukraine war.

UHERO predicts that inflation will drop to 2.75% in the second quarter of next year from 5.8% last month.

And by the end of 2023, it should sit at a very tolerable 2.5 percent and may continue to decline.

“So as those transitory components fall, you could easily have a few months where headline inflation is zero or even negative,” Bonham said.

For Kobuke, it sounds too good to be true.

“I probably don’t really believe it,” he laughed.


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