An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team ended its article four consultation on Belize, last Thursday. The report states that Belize’s economic recovery is strengthening, the government is making significant progress toward debt reduction, and the Central Bank of Belize has taken resolute actions to improve financial soundness. The IMF report points out that public debt is elevated, the external current account deficit remains large, and international reserves are just above three months of imports of goods and services. It is the IMF’s view that policies to enhance Belize’s growth and resilience are essential for addressing these challenges and for improving economic well-being. The economic growth was a focus of the Acting Prime Minister’s address on Independence Day.
Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: “Our country’s economic growth has been steady. Recent data has indicated an acceleration in economic activity in the second quarter of 2018 and is estimated at 5.8%. Tourism arrivals were up by 17.1% in the first half of the year when compared to the same period last year and during the first half of 2018 the net foreign assets of the banking system expanded by some $55.2 million while net domestic credit fell by $37.7 million due to an increase in foreign investments in the banana industry and a steady growth in tourism. The Central Bank of Belize inspects inflation to remain unchanged at under 1%. Unemployment is lower, foreign exchange to remain strong and overall growth by the end of 2018 of about 2.4% a full percentage point above 2017 numbers. Despite meeting all our debt obligations, settling a number of claims and without a pause, to our infrastructure expansion program our economy remains strong and there is no sign of any crisis in the foreseeable future.”