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SIB releases last quarter GDP estimates

Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2018. 8:33 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Belize’s economy grew by 2.8 percent for the last quarter of 2017, according to the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates released by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB).

The SIB estimates that the total value of goods and services produced during the months October to December 2017 was $695.8 million, an increase of $19.1 million from $676.7 million produced in the fourth quarter of 2016. The institute reported growth in all three economic sectors with the Tertiary (Services) Sector continuing to drive the economy.

The Tertiary Sector, accounting for more than half of Belize’s economy, grew by an estimated 3.1 percent driven primarily by a 6.8 percent increase in the “Hotel and Restaurant” sub-sector.

While there was a 5.6 percent drop in the number of cruise passengers due to fewer cruise ship calls in the month of December, more direct flights to Belize caused a 17.6 percent increase in the number of overnight tourist arrivals “Wholesale and Retail Trade” recorded an increase of 1.6 percent, as evidenced by expanded exports during the period, while “Government Services” rose by 3.8 percent.

The secondary sector, representing almost one-fifth of the country’s economic activity, grew by 5.1 percent during the quarter, due largely due to a strong performance in the “Electricity and Water” sub-sector.

“High water levels in the country’s dams coupled with an increase in demand resulted in a 20.6 percent jump in electricity generation from 86 thousand megawatt hours in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 103.7 megawatt hours in the fourth quarter of 2017,” the SIB said, noting that water generation also saw 1.6 percent growth.

The Primary sector grew the least, recording a marginal 0.1 percent increase. The SIB said that agricultural industries such as bananas and citrus, which were all affected the previous year by Hurricane Earl, were all showing signs of recovery in last quarter 2017. The banana industry recorded an increase of 12.7 percent for the last three months of 2017, with shipments increasing from 17.6 thousand metric tons to 19.8 thousand metric tons. A good sugarcane crop caused a 1.9 percent increase for that industry, and citrus, which didn’t export anything in last quarter 2016, showed 186 percent increase in last quarter 2017.

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