Posted: Thursday, March 2, 2023. 11:34 am CST.
By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published their preliminary findings following a mission visit to Belize from February 2 to 14, 2023.
The team met with Christopher Coye, Minister of State; Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary; Kareem Michael, Governor of the Central Bank of Belize; and other senior government officials, representatives of the opposition, private sector, and public sector unions.
The findings noted that economic activity in Belize has rebounded strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic, while inflation has risen.
According to the report, after contracting by 13.4 percent in 2020, real GDP rebounded by 15.2 percent in 2021 and 11.6 percent in the first three quarters of 2022, driven by retail and wholesale trade, tourism, and business process outsourcing.
The IMF noted that visitors to Belize reached 74% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022 as COVID-19 restrictions eased amid vaccination efforts in Belize and source markets.
In addition, the unemployment rate fell from 10.2 percent in 2021 to 5.0 percent in the second half of 2022.
However, inflation increased to 3.2 percent in 2021 and 6.3 percent in 2022.
Notably, inflation is driven by higher global food and fuel prices despite the fixing of domestic diesel and regular gasoline prices at the pump since April 2022.
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