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Mar 30, 2016

SIB Releases Quarterly Economic Indicators

Indicators of the performance of the economy for the last three months of 2015 and the first three months of 2016 were released today by the Statistical Institute of Belize. It shows that while there was increased economic activity over the same period last year. But as it relates to this year, imports are down while exports dropped to forty-three percent. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A slow but positive economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2015, that’s what the Statistical Institute of Belize announced earlier today at its trimestral press conference.  Initial estimates show that between October to December of last year, the level of economic activity increased slightly when compared to the same period in 2014.  In the first quarter of this year, the Consumer Price Index has increased, as fuel prices continue to go up.

 

Angelita Campbell

Angelita Campbell, Statistician, SIB

“On average, prices are zero point three percent higher than that of last year February.  For example, if a consumer purchased a basket of goods for a hundred dollars last year, what they would purchase for the same basket of goods this year February would be a hundred dollars and thirty cents.  The diagram in front of us illustrates the all items food and fuel index and if you look closely at the food index which is represented by the red line, you’d see the index moving from a hundred and seven point three to a hundred and eight point six which is roughly an increase of about one point one percent.”

 

The external trade bulletin indicates that imports are down a little over three and a half percent, while exports plummeted to forty-three percent in February.

 

Stephanie Vasquez

Stephanie Vasquez, Statistician, SIB

“In January to February of this year, Belize’s imports were valued at two hundred and twenty-nine point three million dollars, down four point eight percent or fifteen point two million from the three hundred and fourteen point five million recorded for the same period last year.  Significant decreases in goods destined for the commercial free zones and export processing zones led to the period’s declines in imports while a thirteen million dollar drop in the CFZ category was the result of fewer cigarette and clothing purchases, reduced purchasing of shrimp feed and machinery for preparing tobacco drove a twelve million dollar decline in EPZ imports.  Additionally, twelve million dollars less was spent on minerals, fuels and lubricants, impacted greatly by lower fuel prices on the world market and partially by decreased importation of premium, regular and diesel fuels.”

 

Manufacturing and mining activities rose by three percent during the fourth quarter, despite decreases in both petroleum extraction and flour production during the period.

 

Jefte Ochaeta

Jefte Ochaeta, Statistician, SIB

“The graph here explains the increase and you can see the trend of petroleum extraction in the country; it’s been decreasing and this quarter we decreased by almost twenty-nine thousand barrels less than 2014 and the reason that we have heard and we’ve always been hearing is that the natural depletion of the oil wells in Spanish Lookout area. we had a small decrease in the production of rum; we had one point five thousand gallons less compared to 2014. That was affecting the production of beverages; however, when we look now at the next graph here, we see how the other beverages like soft drinks increase substantially by almost four hundred and forty-five thousand gallons of more soft drinks were prepared and forty-six thousand gallons of beer were also prepared in the fourth quarter more. So we see here that there was a huge increase. This can be attributed, especially like beer production, can be attributed to the upgrade in the bottling equipment that the company had done. So there is more efficiency in the production and the tendency of the market…they were preparing for the end of year sales.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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