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Aug 29, 2018

G.D.P. Up 5.4 Percent

The Statistical Institute of Belize says that the Gross Domestic Product went up by five point four percent. It is a relatively big growth when compared to the second quarters of the past few years – where we’ve seen negligible growth. But while that is good news for the economic activities, there were reduced export earnings once again and all major industries recorded decreases. News Five’s Andrea Polanco shares more from today’s press conference with the S.I.B. where they shared that stats for this year:


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Belize’s G.D.P for the second quarter of 2018 went up by five point four percent when compared to the same period last year. It is massive increase in the country’s overall level of economic activity in recent years – since 2014.  The goods and services produced during this time are valued at seven hundred and sixty-five point three million dollars, which represents an increase of almost forty-million dollars when compared to the same period in 2017. This growth is because of increases in all three sectors.


Angelita Campbell

Angelita Campbell, Statistician II, S.I.B.

“We have agriculture, hunting and forestry contributing one point four percent to the overall five point four percent. We have electricity and water contributing one point one percent to this five point four percent. Wholesale and retail trade contributed zero point seven percent; construction at zero point five percent contributions and hotel and restaurants at zero point three contributions.”


Production in the primary sector grew by nine percent for the second quarter of 2018 when compared to the second quarter of 2017.  Sugarcane deliveries increased by seven point nine percent, banana shipments increased by twenty-six point three percent – or over five thousand metric tons, as the industry rebounds following Hurricane Earl. Livestock sector also saw growth in pig, poultry and cattle productions. On the other hand however, Citrus production dropped by more than one third – with orange deliveries down by thirty-three percent as a result of aging trees and citrus greening. Some sectors of the marine industry continue to struggle.


Angelita Campbell

“Fishing also went down by sixteen point four percent and that is seen in a drop in shrimp exports of roughly seventy-seven point nine percent. Whole fish exported also dropped by forty-five percent and lobster tail exported dropped by six point six percent. However, we have conch exporting over a hundred percent.”


Consumers at home saw the prices of regularly purchased goods and services go up by zero point five percent as of July of this year. Prices were up in the transport category by three point nine percent, costs for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels were up by a mere zero point zero three percent and all other categories which include health consultation fees and motor insurance increased by zero point seven percent. In the food and non-alcoholic beverages category, prices decreased for meats, but there were increases in the cost of cabbage, lime, eggs, natural milk and other products.


Jacqueline Sabal

Jacqueline Sabal, Statistician II, S.I.B.

“This graph shows the trend in the food index over the past two years, starting in July 2015, food prices were at one-o-seven-point-four to July 2016 where it increased slightly to one-o-seven-point-five to July 2017, it fell to one-o-six-point-seven and in July 2018 it fell slightly again to one-o-six-point-two. The trend line gives a good representation of the direction of the index and with this line we clearly notice a downward trend for food from 2015 to July 2018.”


In the external trade bulletin – Belize’s imports from January to July for 2018 were valued at one point one billion dollars – a forty million dollar import increase when compared to the first seven months of last year.


Tiffany Vasquez

Tiffany Vasquez, Statistician II, S.I.B.

“Upon deeper analysis of changes in imports, it was observed that minerals, fuels and lubricants which account for fifteen percent of total imports was the primary contributor the overall growth in imports as that category rose by almost twenty three percent or twenty-nine million dollars to one hundred and fifty eight million, as the country spent considerably more on imported fuels owing to higher world market prices.  Belize imported noticeably more food in January to July of this year than it did for that same period last year. For the food and live animals category grew by six million dollars to a little over one hundred and thirty million dollars with increased purchases in a variety of grocery items and wheat seeds.”


For this year, Belize exported goods valued at two hundred and fifty eight point nine million dollars – a decrease in exports of almost forty-six million dollars up to the same time last year. This downturn is because of decrease in export earnings of all major commodities, bananas, marine products, crude petroleum, sugar and citrus products.


Tiffany Vasquez

“Sugar, which is the biggest leading export which is Belize’s export commodity suffered the greatest loss. Despite having a six percent increase in exported volumes of that product, export earnings fell considerably by twenty one point two percent or twenty-three point two million dollars to eighty-six million.  For the period, earnings of citrus exports fell by twelve point eight percent or eight point two million to fifty-five point eight million. Earnings from orange concentrate and orange oil recorded the most significant decreases of all citrus products. Exports of citrus products were down in all markets.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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