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Services sector drives marginal first-quarter growth

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2018. 2:00 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff:  For the first three months of 2018, both the primary and secondary sectors of the economy were down, leaving the tertiary or services sector solely responsible for the 1.8 percent growth recorded in that time.  

The primary sector experienced a decline of 11.9 percent during the first quarter, with several major industries (bananas, sugarcane, citrus and marine products) recording decreases in production during the period.  The secondary sector, which accounts for almost one-fifth of the country’s economic activity, declined marginally by 0.2 percent during the first quarter. ‘Manufacturing and Mining’ activities fell by 7.4 percent during the first three months of 2018. 

Crude petroleum extraction fell by 18.1 percent as reservoirs continue to be depleted; however, the 18.2 percent growth in the ‘Electricity and Water’ sector offset the shortfall.  

The tertiary sector, which accounts for more than half of Belize’s total economy, grew by 4.6 percent during the first quarter. The tourism industry led the way in this sector, with ‘Accommodation and Food Services’ growing by 20 percent, as both overnight visitors and cruise passengers increased during the period.   

Overnight visitors were up by 27,534 persons or 22.5 percent, with visitors from Canada, Europe, and America all increasing considerably. Cruise passengers increased by 16,795 or 4.6 percent as there were 7 additional ship calls over the quarter. ‘Government Services’ recorded an increase of 5.2 percent. 

The ‘Transport, Storage and Communication’ sector grew by 4.7 percent due to an increase in freight. Belize had ended off 2017 with a total GDP increase of 1.2 percent, with a fourth-quarter growth rate of 2.8 percent. At that time all major industries were recording increases, with the exception of marine products. 

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