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Jun 29, 2016

SIB Releases Latest Statistics

Today was report card day from the Statistical Institute of Belize.  S.I.B. held its quarterly press conference this morning to present the most recent figures pertaining to Belize’s economic performance.  Arguably the most important piece of information, as it relates to the average Belizean, is the cost of the food basket.  Is it higher this year than the same period in 2015?  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Statistical Institute of Belize, SIB, released the latest information today on the first quarter GDP of 2016, external trade statistics, as well as the Consumer Price Index for the month of May.  The inflation rate for last month stands at one percent which means that on average, prices are a single percent higher than they were a year ago.


Angelita Campbell

Angelita Campbell, Statistician, SIB

“The food and non-alcoholic beverages category went up by zero point four percent, along with housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels going up by one point six percent, as well as we have the all other categories of goods and services going up by one point six percent.  We have the transport category going down by zero point nine percent, all contributing to a one percent increase in inflation.  In the food and non-alcoholic beverages category we saw a variation across the prices of food.  For instance, we have beef going up by seven point two percent, pork going up by six point two percent; however, we had chicken going down by two point six percent.  We have cabbage going up by thirty-four percent, onion going down by minus eight point six percent, sweet pepper also went down by thirty-eight point seven percent and we have the continued downward trend of red kidney beans of two point three percent.”


The Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter of 2016 amounts to roughly seven hundred and eighteen million dollars.  That’s a decrease of almost fifteen million dollars, the equivalent of two percent over the same period in 2015.


Stephanie Vasquez

Stephanie Vasquez, Statistician, SIB

“For the period January to May of this year, Belize’s imports were valued at eight hundred and six point nine million dollars.  This represents a marginal point three percent or a two point three million dollar decrease from the same period last year.  Such a negligible decrease was the result of large contrasting changes among five main categories.  Imports of minerals, fuels and lubricants and goods destined for the export processing zones and commercial free zones saw the greatest decline over the period, only to be offset by rising imports of food and live animals and machinery and transport equipment.  The minerals, fuels and lubricants category fell by thirty-four million dollars, despite an upward turn in world market prices, as fuel prices remain lower than those a year ago.”


Statistician Jefte Ochaeta outlined the reason for the drop in production and compares this year’s figures with the past four years.


Jefte Ochaeta

Jefte Ochaeta, Statistician, SIB

“Belize produced goods and services totaling seven hundred and eighteen million dollars in the period of January to March 2016, which is a decrease of fourteen point seven million dollars from the same period in 2015.  If we are going to represent that in percentages, that’s a two percent decrease.  So we had a drop in production of two percent.  So this graph here can show you a series of how throughout the years, in the first quarter we have a positive growth starting from 2011, 2014 and we have a minimal decrease in 2014.”


As it pertains to the labor force, a national survey covering a little under three thousand households was conducted by the SIB in April during a four-week period.  The results indicate that of the working age population, one hundred and forty-six thousand, nine hundred and eighteen persons are gainfully employed.  That is almost six thousand persons more who are working this year than the same period in 2015.


Statistician, SIB

“Looking at the labor force in more detail, we see that of the one hundred and sixty-nine thousand, six hundred and forty-eight persons estimated, the employed represented about a hundred and forty-six thousand persons; meanwhile, the unemployed about twelve thousand seven hundred and thirty. So we could see a lot from this pyramid itself in terms of the survey. Looking more closely at labor force participation…nationally, for this round of the labor force survey, it was about sixty-three point seven percent—not much of a difference compared to April 2015.”


Overall, there are more males presently employed than there are females by a difference of twenty-seven percent. 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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