By BBN Staff: For the first time in five years, Belize has seen a decline in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fourth quarter of the year.
This week, the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) released the statistics for the 4th Quarter GDP 2016, showing a decline of 1.2 percent (almost $8 million) when compared to the same period in 2015.
The SIB’s data showed that the country’s economic activity declined from $675 million in 2015 to $667 million in 2016. Preliminary estimates indicate that for the entire year 2016, the country’s level of production was 0.8% lower than that of the previous year. There were declines in both the primary and secondary sectors with the tertiary sector showing marginal growth.
The primary sector declined by 12.4 percent, after several major industries including bananas, citrus and, marine exports. The SIB attributed much of the losses to Hurricane Earl.
Banana shipments dropped by 30 percent, from 22 thousand metric tons to 16 thousand metric tons, due to losses sustained during Hurricane Earl in August 2016. Marine exports fell by six percent from 1.55 million pounds to 1.46 million pounds.
Sugar cane and livestock were the only exports that saw increases.
Secondary activities- went down by 3.6 percent. The “electricity and water” sector recorded a decline of almost eight percent, due to a 9 percent decrease in electricity generation, when compared to 2015. Hydroelectric generation decreased by 5.6 percent, due to lower water levels in the reservoirs prior to the start of the rainy season.
““Manufacturing and mining” activities decreased by more than 4.6 percent during the period. Manufacturing of beverages was down by 7.5 percent, with beer production down marginally by 0.6 percent and soft drink production dropping by 16.2 percent,” the SIB said.
Oil production also continued its downward trend due to the natural depletion of the resource.
The tertiary sector, which accounts for over a half of the country’s economic activity, grew by marginal 0.8 percent during the quarter, with “accommodation and food Services” recording the highest increase (7 percent).
The number of overnight visitors went up by some three thousand persons while the total number of cruise passengers rose by almost 40 thousand persons. “Wholesale and retail trade” remained untended, while “Government services” recorded a 1 percent increase.
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