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Sep 27, 2023

Inflation at 4.5%, Imports Up & Exports Down so far for 2023

Today, the Statistical Institute of Belize held its quarterly press conference, looking primarily at the second quarter of 2023. The presentations centred on the gross domestic product estimates of the second quarter, as well as the consumer price index and the external trade data from January to August of 2023. In a nutshell, imports are up, exports are down and the inflation rate is up. News Five’s Duane Moody files this report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, the Statistical Institute of Belize shared the gross domestic product for the year 2022, as well as the data for the second quarter of 2023, which is from April to June.  The GDP is the total value of all finished goods and services produced within an economy and are categorized in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. Statistician Christopher Hulse shares the figures.


Christopher Hulse

Christopher Hulse, Statistician II, S.I.B.

“The goods and services produced during the year 2022, we have an estimate of five point zero one six billion dollars; this is an increase of four hundred and two point nine million dollars or eight point seven percent when compared to the year of 2021. Looking at the annual into the three sectors, we observed that primary had a slight decrease of zero point eight percent; we observed decreases both in agriculture and in mining. At secondary, we had another decrease of one point nine percent where for the secondary, manufacturing saw an increase, but the other industries in secondary saw a decrease. And then, lastly for tertiary, we are looking at a nine point eight percent increase and this was driven by increases in wholesale trade, accommodation and restaurant industry and transportation followed by the admin and support services, government services and recreational services.”


It is on the backdrop of these annual G.D.P. figures for 2022 that the second quarter of this year is being compared. And, according to the data, the economy grew by two point six percent.


Christopher Hulse

“The primary sector contributed ninety point five million dollars of this which is approximately six point nine percent. The secondary sector was a hundred and ninety-two point six million which is fourteen point seven percent; the tertiary is eight hundred and fifty-nine point five million dollars, which is sixty-five point five percent and then we have taxes at a hundred and seventy-one point one million dollars, which is thirteen percent. So that is how the entire one point three billion dollars is divided into the three sectors and taxes.”


The primary sector decreased by sixteen point seven percent compared to quarter two of 2022. Agriculture is down by eleven point seven percent and mining is down forty-six point four percent. In the agriculture sector, adverse weather, lack of human resources and pests/diseases attributed to the sharp decline. Sugar cane was down by eighteen point three percent, banana decreased by forty percent and citrus decreased by a whopping ninety-three point one percent. Livestock, however, saw an overall increase of twelve percent.


Christopher Hulse

“This was driven by an increase in cattle of thirty-eight point six percent; pig saw a small decrease of three point three percent and poultry an even smaller decrease of one point seven percent.”


Within the secondary sector, construction increased by eleven point two percent, meanwhile manufacturing, electricity and water all decreased by eleven point five percent, two point one percent and four point four percent, respectively. Tertiary increased by eight point nine percent or seventy point five million dollars. But how do all these figures affect the cost of goods? Statistician Melvin Perez speaks of the consumer price index from January to August 2023 and the inflation rate. In a nutshell, the cumulative inflation rate for the first eight months of the year increased by four point five percent and it was specifically due to the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages.


Melvin Perez

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

“The major categories affecting the cumulative inflation rate of four point five percent. First we have the food and non-alcoholic beverages with prices increasing by thirteen point two percent. I must mention that this category was the main category contributing to the overall cumulative inflation rate. It was followed by restaurant and accommodation services with prices increasing by eleven point three percent then we had recreation sports and culture with prices increasing by seven point three percent followed by the furnishing household equipment and routine household maintenance with prices increasing by four point eight percent. And then we had personal care, social protection and miscellaneous goods and services with prices increasing by three percent and lastly, we had the health category with prices increasing by three point seven percent.”


S.I.B. is reporting that the transport category decreased by one point three percent and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel went down by zero point eight percent.   The basket of goods and services consist of three hundred and ninety-five goods and services and approximately two thousand seven hundred establishments were visited. But what about imports and exports? Statistician Tiffany Vasquez says that Belize’s imports increased by one point two percent or twenty-one point million dollars for the first eight months of this year.


Tiffany Vasquez

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

“This slight growth in total imports which resulted from increasing categories being counterbalanced by decreasing ones does not take away from the fact that most commodity categories experienced noteworthy changes during the period. The crude materials category experienced the largest percentage increase rising by almost a third or seven point nine million dollars to thirty-two point seven million as imports of treated pine lumber continued to be the source of increase in this category. With boosted imports of alcoholic beverages such as tequila and beer, the beverages and tobacco category went up by ten percent or three point two million dollars to thirty-five point five million. Domestic exports for the period January to August 2023 amounted to three hundred and eleven point four million dollars. This represented a decrease of nine point five percent or thirty-two point six million dollars when compared to that same period last year.”


That decrease is due to several factors, including reduced exports in bananas, citrus and marine products, as well as earnings from molasses exports, red kidney beans and animal feed. Duane Moody for 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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