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Chamber Concerned Over Belize’s Economic Ratings

Standard and Poor’s latest report in which it has readjusted Belize’s ratings has brought about concerns by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  In a release from the BCCI, there were six main points made including the statement in the report that spoke of Belize’s increase in fiscal deficit due to the pre-election spending and the compensation owing to Fortis and the Ashcroft Group following the nationalization of the Belize Electricity Limited and the Belize Telemedia Limited.  The second point mentioned by the BCCI was that Belize’s Government debt is predominantly denominated in foreign currency and held by non-residents.  According to the report, S and P is expecting the government’s debt to increase to seventy four percent of its GDP from what was sixty six percent in 2014.  The fourth point in the release was where the report stated that interest payment are averaged at about nine percent of general Government revenue and would rise to ten percent in 2017 and 2018 when there is a step-up in coupon payments on the country’s five hundred and thirty million US dollars bond which is due in 2038.  The BCCI has also expressed concerns over the S and P’s prediction that the country’s international reserves will decline to less than four hundred million dollars.  Of note, in the S and P’s report is that the Belize’s ratings over the next twelve months could be lowered if the government’s underlying fiscal deficit does not moderate or if the central bank’s international reserves decline more than they forecast.