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December 10, 2020

“Economy declines by over 14 percent for first nine months of 2020,” says Statistical Institute

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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2020. 9:43 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Belize had already seen successive quarters of economic decline before the pandemic hit, but the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates, released by the Statistical Institute of Belize, show that the economy has further declined by over 14 percent for the first nine months of 2020 when compared to the previous year.

The SIB’s GDP estimates say that for the first three quarters of this year, the total value of goods and services produced within the country is estimated to have decreased by $316.2 million dollars or 14.4 percent, from over $2,194.7 million from January to September of 2019 to $1,878.5 million for the same period in 2020.

“During this period, the country struggled with the combined effects of prolonged dry weather conditions, which adversely impacted agriculture and electricity production in the earlier parts of the year, and the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” the SIB said.

“International travel came to a virtual halt in response to the pandemic, restrictions to movement and engaging in various activities were put into place to mitigate the spread of the virus, and economic activity declined sharply.”

The SIB also noted that the second quarter of 2020, brought the largest quarterly decline on record, when the economy declined by 23 percent due to a downturn in the service sector. Despite “fairly positive” performances in both the primary and secondary sectors, the decline in the services sector continued into third quarter 2020 (June-September) and “easily overshadowed” those gains.

Preliminary third quarter GDP estimates showed that, for the months of July to September 2020, Belize’s economy declined by 13.2 percent in comparison to the same three months in 2019. The total value of goods and services produced within the country for the period stood at $578.9 million, down $87.8 million from $666.7 million produced in the third quarter of 2019.

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