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Belize’s First Quarter economic output down for first time in six years

Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020. 1:29 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Belize’s economy showed a decline in the first quarter of 2020, something that has not happened since first-quarter 2014, according to the latest data released by the Statistical Institue of Belize (SIB).

The SIB’s latest Gross Dometic Product (GDP) figures show that Belize’s overall economic activity for the period of January to April 2020, dropped by 4.5 percent when compared to the same period in 2019. The decline represents a $33.4 million drop from the $743 million in first-quarter 2019 to $709.6 million this year.

The SIB said that the decline was a result of shortfalls experienced in all three economic sectors, which were all affected by a combination of the COVID-19 global pandemic and an ongoing drought, which has been severely impacting the agricultural sector since last year.

The primary sector declined by 6.1 percent during the first quarter, down $5.3 million from $86.1 million in 2019 to $80.8 million in 2020. The secondary sector decreased by 13.2 percent during the first quarter of the year.

“The ‘Manufacturing and Mining’ subsector, much of which is dependent on agricultural production, experienced a 7.3 percent decrease in output,” the SIB said.

Activity in the tertiary sector fell by 3.3 percent or a total of $15.2 million when compared to the first quarter of 2019.

“There were approximately 24,000 less American tourists, 3,800 less Canadian tourists and roughly 3,400 fewer tourists visiting from Europe. Similarly, cruise passenger arrivals dropped by 24.9 percent, with a total of 31 fewer ship calls being made during the first quarter, mainly due to cancellations made during the month of March,” the SIB added.

The SIB also noted that the only industry within the tertiary sector to record a positive growth during the period was ‘Government Services,’ which rose by 4.1 percent.


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