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May 28, 2014

SIB reports slight economic dip in first quarter of the year

The latest figures released from the Statistical Institute of Belize indicate that there has been a slight contraction of the economy when compared to last year’s economic performance in the first quarter. At a press conference today, S.I.B. reported that though the figures are in preliminary form, economic growth dipped by zero point four percent due to decreased production in sugar, citrus, banana and petroleum production. S.I.B., however, reports positive growth in other sectors. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has that story.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

There is a nominal decline being recorded for the first quarter of 2014, as the country’s gross domestic product has dipped by a mere zero point four percent.  The decrease, according to the Statistical Institute of Belize, is attributed to diminishing output in three specific industries; namely: agriculture, mining and manufacturing.


Glen Avilez, Director, Statistical Institute of Belize

Glen Avilez

“The performance that we saw in the first quarter is a continuation of what was obtained in 2013.  We see a slight dip in the economy in the first quarter when compared to the same period of last year of roughly zero point four percent.  I must say that this figure is very preliminary and is subject to change.”


The falloff, particularly, is the result of low sugar, citrus, banana and petroleum production.


Glen Avilez

“The last time we had a decline was in 2009, a first quarter decline that is, was in 2009 when it fell, when the economy fell by just over one percent.”


Notwithstanding the minimal decrease, there has been positive growth in the electricity, shrimp, beer, tourism and construction industries.


Glen Avilez

“Construction is on record of being the sector with the longest consecutive quarterly increase.  They have not, or that sector, has not decreased in eleven quarters, consecutive quarters.  It’s the best of all the sectors that we monitor and, as you can appreciate, this performance is largely attributed to activities in the public sector.”


Nonetheless, the slight drop in economic performance is only the second overall decline since 1995 and is not necessarily indicative of figures for the remainder of the year.


Glen Avilez

“Over those nineteen years, it is only in 2009, apart from this year that there was a decline in the first quarter.  All other periods were positive growth and in 2009 the annual growth was zero point six percent.  I say that to simply make the point that you should not read too much or try to extrapolate what has happened in the first quarter to say what will happen for the rest of the year.  There have been years where one quarter could make a huge difference and so we have three more quarters ahead of us which we could see either a continuation of what happened in the first quarter or a reversal of the first quarter.”


The most significant decrease in any industry, however, is in mining, where oil production remains on a downward spiral.


Glen Avilez

“Oil.  The story remains that production is steadily falling.  It fell twenty-three percent in the first quarter and we have production at its lowest level ever, and ever meaning going back to 2006.  As a result of the decline in oil production, our export earnings are down substantially, eighteen million dollars in the first four months.”


The country’s sole producer of crude is Belize Natural Energy Ltd.  While the company anticipated a gradual decrease in production, the rate at which the number of barrels are being exported is falling sharply.


Glen Avilez

“They expected this and in fact they gave a figure of within the next five years we could be down to nothing.  So that is where we are with our oil production unless if, as I said before, there is some new find.”


By comparison, the figures for external trade, which include imports and exports, are quite polar.  At the end of the first quarter total exports of crude petroleum, citrus concentrate and bananas amounted to two hundred and five million dollars, while goods brought into the country mainly from the United States, Curacao and Mexico totaled six hundred million dollars during the same period. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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2 Responses for “SIB reports slight economic dip in first quarter of the year”

  1. Rod says:

    Even this is a big farse the economy is far worse than this gov. Is saying Belize will soon be bankrupt this gov is absurdly inept.

  2. Teddy Steinway says:

    Wrong on sugar. Sugar is up.

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