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Belize’s economy declined by almost 3 percent at the end of 2019

Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020. 8:23 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Statistical Institute of Belize’s (SIB) latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report, said that Belize’s economy ended off 2019 with a 2.8 percent decline, the worst for the entire year.

“During the months of October to December 2019, the total value of goods and services produced within Belize were valued at $669.90 million, down $19 million from $689 million during the fourth quarter of 2018. It is also the first fourth-quarter decline seen since 2011,”
the SIB said.

The institute’s data showed declines in the Primary and Secondary economic sectors and only minimal increase in the Tertiary (Services)

The Primary Sector, which comprises of the export of raw materials, declined by some 6.6 percent as all three of the country’s major crops saw a production decrease during the last three months of the year due to an ongoing drought. Banana production went down from 25.1 thousand metric tons in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 22.9 thousand metric tons for the same period in 2019. The drought conditions brought about underdeveloped sugarcane which lead to no cane being harvested during the fourth quarter of 2019. Citrus fruit production declined by some 6.4 thousand metric tons, from 8.9 thousand metric tons in the fourth quarter of 2018 to just 2.5 thousand metric tons in the same quarter of 2019.

The secondary sector was hit hardest, declining by 19.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2019. The major cause of the decline was found in the ‘Manufacturing and Mining’ subsector, which experienced a 5.7 percent decline in output, with several of the larger  industries within this sector declining during the period. Crude oil production fell from 71.2 thousand barrels to 64.9 thousand barrels, as the reserves continue to deplete.

The tertiary sector grew slightly by 0.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2019, but still saw its share of challenges. The ‘Transport, Storage and Communication’ subsector expanded by 2.4 percent, while ‘Government Services’ increased by 2.5 percent.

“On the other hand, the ‘Hotels and Restaurants’ subsector decreased by 5.7 percent during the quarter. Despite a 1.4 percent increase in overnight tourist arrivals to the country and a 1.1 percent rise in hotel room revenue, the tourism industry was impacted by having 15 fewer cruise ship calls during the fourth quarter of 2019. This resulted in a considerable reduction in the number of cruise arrivals, from 338,000 persons in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 282,200 persons in fourth quarter of 2019,” the SIB explained.

Notably, the only increase in Belize’s economy in 2019 was in the first quarter, when growth was recorded at 5.2 percent. Second-quarter figures showed a decline of 0.8 percent and third-quarter figures showed a decline of 0.4 percent.


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