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Apr 25, 2018

Exports and Prices Take Tumble in First Quarter

External trade has contracted in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Statistical Institute of Belize. Belize sold nearly twenty-five million dollars less goods for January to March of 2018 than the same period in 2017, and all major exports saw decreased earnings. Sugar recorded a net loss of seventeen percent despite a four percent increase in exports due to lower prices. Banana dropped twenty-nine percent; marine products slumped by one-third due to diminished shrimp exports while citrus saw a dip of a million dollars less due to slow orange oil sales. Imports saw a modest decrease of just about two million dollars but most of the major imports saw decreases. Inflation is down zero point six percent year over year for March, 2018, meaning consumers paid less for all goods and services than in the same month last year. Overall inflation remains steady at negative zero-point-one percent for the first quarter. Belizeans are paying less for international airfares – though more for fuel. Premium gasoline has gone up near eight percent from last March; regular gasoline six percent and diesel nearly ten percent as well as butane or LPG. Basic food items are on average costing less, particularly meat and some vegetables as well as tea. In the municipalities, Punta Gorda Town suffered a rise in prices for food items and butane, pushing them up zero point six percent, while things are costing much less in the Twin Towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena. The negative one point nine percent drop is attributed to decreases in home rental and food costs.

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