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Aug 27, 2014

2nd Quarter Stats is a Mixed Bag

The Statistical Institute of Belize has released its latest economic figures corresponding to the second quarter of 2014. All be told, transportation shot up by ten percent while the basket of food went down slightly by point three percent. But there is concern over a continuous downward spiral in crude production, citrus and sugar. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has a report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Consumer Price Index, a measure of changes in the cost of commodities and services purchased by households, has been issued for the month of July.  CPI, as it is known, is a statistical estimate calculated using the costs of a sample of representative items whose prices are collected periodically. While the inflation rate remains fixed at one point three percent, a nominal increase from the same period last year, higher prices are being reported in respect of transport and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.


Jefte Ochaeta, Statistician, Statistical Institute of Belize

Jefte Ochaeta

“The higher prices were observed in transportation services where they increased by ten percent mainly due to an increase of twenty-four point one percent in airfares, water, electricity, gas and other fuels where we saw the overall expenditure category increasing by one point three percent.  We had rent prices going up by one point four percent, water prices going up by six point nine percent in this category.  Accommodation services increased by six percent where we had international hotel services increasing by thirteen point two percent.  So that’s what we have observed in the main categories that moved the index since May.”


The annual percentage change in a CPI is a measure of inflation and can also be used to express the real value of wages, salaries and pensions, as well as the cost of food, et cetera.  For the first time since 2011, the food index fell slightly in July, reflecting lower prices across most categories.


Jefte Ochaeta

“Now the food index actually decreased in the month of July by point three percent.  We hadn’t seen a decrease in the food index, however, that doesn’t mean that the prices of food were cheaper than last month.  Rather, the food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by point three percent from June.  But corresponding the month of July of 2013, there are the categories where we saw the decrease for 2014.  Meat; meat products went down by point four percent, eggs went down by fourteen point five percent, pasta products went down by one point three percent.  There was also some upward movement in prices where vegetables moved by two point two percent and seafood increased by one point three and fruits, they decreased by four point five percent.”


The Gross Domestic Product, GDP, on the other hand, grew by eight point seven percent in the second quarter, from April to June, bringing the cumulative economic growth for the first half of the year to three point seven percent.   This succeeded a slight decline in the first quarter where the growth rate was minus zero point four percent.  Where external trade is concerned, Belize brought in more goods between January and July of this year when compared to the same period in 2013.


Representative, SIB

“In the first seven months of 2014, Belize imported goods totaling one point one four billion dollars.  This was increase of sixty-eight point four million dollars or a six point four percentage increase.  The largest increases were in the machinery and transport equipment category which was up by twenty point three million dollars and also the mineral fuels and lubricants category which was up by twenty point two million dollars.  The reason for the large increase in the machinery and transport equipment category was because of an increase in the import of motor vehicles for the transport of goods and in the mineral fuels it was an increase of diesel oil being imported.”


Despite positive growth being recorded in sugarcane, oranges, livestock, tourism, rum and beer, there was a marked decline in petroleum, bananas, shrimp and government services.  Export revenues reflect that decrease.


Representative, SIB

“Export revenues totaled three hundred and ninety point three million dollars for this period and this was a decrease of fifty-five point four million dollars or twelve point four percent over 2013.  We had crude petroleum, sugar and orange concentrate combined for a decrease of forty-nine million of the total fifty-five point four million dollars decrease.  We had crude down by twenty-one million dollars or twenty-four percent, sugar was down by twenty-two million dollars or twenty-two percent and citrus concentrate was down by six million dollars or eight percent.”


Over half of all exports for the month of July were destined for the United States; the UK and the European Union accounting for twenty-eight percent, while CARICOM, where there is a growing market for non-traditional exports such as animal feeds and grains,  received nine percent of total exports.


Overall, exports were down by fifty-five point four million dollars to three hundred and ninety million dollars compared to the same period a year ago. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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