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Nov 28, 2018

A Look at Belize’s Third Quarter Economic Performance

Figures were released today in respect of the performance of the economy; they show that the gross domestic product grew by more than three percent and that the cost of living also inched up slightly when compared to the same period last year.  Agriculture and the fishing industries contributed to the economic growth while prices went up in housing, water and electricity as well as fuel. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Statistical Institute of Belize which gathers, records, analyzes and publishes official data, as they relate to demographic, social, environmental and general activities within the country, has released the latest figures towards year’s end.  For the third quarter of 2018, the Belizean economy grew by three point three percent, the Gross Domestic Product standing at roughly six hundred and seventy million dollars between July and September.

 

Angelita Campbell

Angelita Campbell, Economic Statistics Department, SIB

“GDP is defined as the total value of goods and services produced within an economy in a given period.  Now with that said, Belize produced goods and services totaling six hundred and seventy point nine million dollars for the third quarter of 2018, indicating an increase of twenty-one point two million dollars or three point three percent when compared to the same period of last year.  The first nine months of the year, the production was at three point six percent higher than the same period of 2017.”

 

Looking at third quarter GDP between 2013 and 2018, this year has seen the highest growth at market prices, with 2015 coming closest at six hundred and fifty-seven point eight million dollars.

 

Angelita Campbell

“The main contributing industries to the growth of three point three percent are agriculture, hunting and fishing industries contributing two point seven percent, wholesale and retail trade contributing one percent and hotel and restaurants contributing about point six percent. As the fishing industry continues to struggle towards recovery, an increase in the export of shrimp, conch and lobster tail all contributed to this forty-three point six percent or two point three million dollars in the fishing industry.  And please note, although there was an increase of over two hundred percent in the export of shrimp, this is nowhere close to what production was in 2014, before the disease affected production.”

 

The Consumer Price Index which many refer to colloquially as the cost of living, has inched up slightly.  Prices for regularly purchased goods and services went up by an average of point eight percent per household in October.

 

Melvin Perez

Melvin Perez, Statistician II, SIB

“The inflation rate for the month of October 2018 stood at point eight percent.  This means that on average prices were point eight percent higher than they were in October 2017.  The inflation rate for the first ten months of the year 2018 when compared to the same period of 2017, stood at point three percent.  The inflation rate is the percentage change between the all-item Consumer Price Index of October 2017 and October 2018.”

 

The overall increase in the Consumer Price Index is attributed to housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.

 

Melvin Perez

“For the most part, the all-item index follows the movement of the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.  Bear in mind that this category has the largest weight in our basket and majority of the household spending lies within this category, such as rent, water, and electricity.  So any movement within this category will strongly impact the all-item index.”

 

As it relates to external trade, less goods were shipped out of the country in October when compared to the number of merchandise that was imported during the same period.

 

Tiffany Vasquez

Tiffany Vasquez, Statistician II, SIB

“For the period January to October 2018, Belize’s imports were valued at one point six billion dollars.  This was an increase of five point eight percent or almost eighty-seven million when compared to imports of January to October 2017.  When imports were categorized, it was found that machinery and transport equipment alone accounted for twenty-one percent of all imported goods into the country, while imports of manufactured goods and commodities classified as other manufacturers together formed another twenty-one percent of total imports.  Eighteen percent of all imported goods were destined for the commercial free zones and export processing zones, while minerals fuels and lubricants constituted fifteen percent of all imports.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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