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Mar 27, 2019

Economy Grew by 1.3% in 2018’s Fourth Quarter

The Statistical Institute Belize today released its latest figures relating to the Gross Domestic Product during the fourth quarter of 2018. They report that the economy grew by one point three percent in the fourth quarter. The increase is attributed to the growth seen in the primary and tertiary sectors which experienced a twelve point six percent and two percent increase, respectively. Figures for February’s Consumer Price Index External Merchandise Trade were also shared. Compared to 2018, February of this year was point one percent more expensive. The increase was due in part to higher prices for various food prices. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo has the figures.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, the country’s economy experienced a one point three percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2018. Seven hundred and six point four million dollars worth of goods and services were produced during the last quarter. This is an increase of nine point two million when compared to 2017. Contributing to the growth were the Primary and tertiary sectors.

 

Jacqueline Sabal

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

“Within the primary sector, agriculture, forestry and hunting increased by nine point three percent or four point five million dollars totaling fifty two million dollars. This was due mainly to an increase in livestock production which went up zero point three percent and an increase in banana production which rose by twenty six point three percent. The fishing industry increased by thirty point four percent or two point seven million dollars, totally eleven million dollars as conchs and shrimps increased during the quarter. Conchs’ exports grew by ninety six point two percent. Shrimps exports grew by forty three point seven percent. However lobster tail and meat export decreased on average by fourteen point four percent. Production in the tertiary sector grew two percent or eight point nine million dollars totaling four hundred and fifty six point three million dollars. Within this sector we saw an increase in hotels and restaurant industry by seven point four percent or two point one million dollars bringing the total to that industry to thirty million dollars. This is evident in the increase of overnight visitors of ninety point six percent, cruise visitors of seventeen point two percent and room revenue of six point three percent.”

 

Poultry production decreased by five point four percent, affecting the overall growth of livestock production which experienced a total increase of zero point three percent.

 

Jacqueline Sabal

“Cattle production increased from five thousand nine hundred and thirty nine heads in the fourth quarter of 2017 to seven thousand one hundred and thirty nine heads in the fourth quarter of 2018 which reflects the twenty percent increase. Pig production increase ten point six percent from seven thousand six hundred and twelve heads during the fourth quarter of 2017 to eighteen thousand four hundred and twenty heads in 2018.   The rise in pig production came in anticipation of the heightened demand of ham during the Christmas season.”

 

Petroleum production continued its downward trajectory, falling by eleven percent due to the natural depletion of reservoirs.

For the month of February 2019, imports rose by six point eight percent. In February Belize imported almost one hundred and forty-six million dollars.  Increase imports across several categories contributed to the growth.

 

Tiffany Vasquez

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

“Manufactured goods which accounted for fifteen percent of total import rose most significantly by almost ten million dollars to forty five million with goods such as corrugated steel bars, metal items and structures, cartoon boxes being among the top increased items in this category. Imports of chemical products which were ten percent of total imports went up by seven point five million dollars to twenty nine point five million due for the most part to greater purchases of fertilizers in the first two months of the year.”

 

Imports to the Commercial Free Zones registered a four point five million dollars increase in the month of February. The bulk of Belize’s imports originated in the USA which accounts for forty-six percent of all imported goods. Meanwhile, exports for February 2019 amounted to twenty-five point five million dollars- an increase of thirteen point four percent.

In February the consumer prices increased by zero point one percent with Punta Gorda experiencing the highest inflation rate of three point four percent. According to the institute, higher prices for various food items, international airfares, liquefied petroleum gas slightly overshadowed a drop in home rental cost and fuel prices during February.

 

Melvin Perez

Melvin Perez, Statistician II, S.I.B.

“The main category exerting upward pressure on the Consumer Price Index lies within the all other categories of good and service. First let’s look at the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel which saw a marginal decrease of zero point four percent. This was as a result in home rental cost which holds the largest share in the category.”

 

Hipolito Novelo, News Five.


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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