The Statistical Institute of Belize released its latest numbers as it regards to Gross Domestic Product, the External Trade statistics and Consumer Price Index/Inflation Rate statistics for the first Quarter 2015. Press conference was held at the Central bank and Love News reporter Hipolito Novelo was in attendance and has the following report.
HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING
“According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, in the first three months of 2015, Belize experienced a 7% growth in Gross Domestic Product. Up until April, the total production was valued at $733.8 million. It is the highest number recorded between the years 2010 and 2015 during the same period. There are several factors that played a role in this increased which are agriculture, manufacturing and tourism as explained bay Statistician Angelita Campbell.”
“Production of total goods and services for the first quarter stands at seventy three point eight million dollars which is forty eight million dollars higher than that of last year, same period. In other words, the production is seven percent higher than that of 2014. The seventy three point eight million dollars being the highest recorded over the period between 2010 to 2015. Note, this quarter has recorded the highest in terms of monetary value over the years for the first quarter of the GDP within the primary industry, the agricultural and forestry sector went up by 19.6 percent and that can be seen in an increase in banana by 2.6 percent. Orange also went up by 129 percent and that is as a result of the change in the harvest season. We have sugar cane however decreasing by 2.9 percent and that is explained by a late start in the harvest season of sugar cane. Fishing also went up by 16.5 percent and that is the result of the expansion of the fish farm production. We also see shrimp export going up by five million dollar more.
HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING
“Marine product for this quarter stands at 4.5 million pounds, the highest so far. Banana increased by from 22.8 metric tons to 27.9 metric tons. Citrus increased by a high number. Sugarcane decreased by 12.4 metric tons but there was an increase of sugar production by 7.7%- resulting from extraction efficiency. Petroleum extraction has been decreasing over the years. There was also a decrease of electricity generation in the first quarter. In April 2015, Belize imported goods valued at $157.6 million representing a slight decrease of 1.4 percent as explained by Tiffany Vasquez, Statistician II.”
“Major contributors to change in imports included imports to the commercial free zones which grew by twenty four point six million dollars due mostly to increased importation of cigarettes and clothing. Imports of machinery and transport equipment grew by five million dollars due to increased purchases of bottling equipment and vehicles, imports of manufactured goods went up by 12.1 million dollars as importation of construction supplies continues to grow. Spending on fuels and lubricants declined by 21.4 million dollars while the volume of all main fuels which included diesel, kerosene, regular, premium and butane all increased from January to April of this year. Imports to the Commercial Free Zones and export processing zone stood at 22.4 percent of Belize’s imports with the machinery and transport equipment and manufactured foods holding an almost similar share at 20.9 percent and 19.8 percent respectively. 12.3 percent of all imports were fuels and lubricants while food constituted the smallest share an 10.5 percent.”
HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING
“Most of Belize’s imports came from the United States of America with $203.5M. As for Belize’s exports, for the first quarter, was $56.3 M word of good, a decrease of 5.2 percent when compared to 2014 during the same period. This was attributed to the number of barrels of crude petroleum exported compounded by the world price of the good. However, all major exports increased. According to the SIB, during the month of April 2015, the prices of goods and services were on an average of 1 percent lower than April 2014 as explained by Marilyn Pinelo-Lee the Economic Statistics Manager.”
“We have food and non-alcoholic beverages down by point three percent housing, water, gas, electricity and other fuels down by point six percent, transport down by 6.4 percent and all other goods and services up by point five percent. The housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels category are comprised of electricity tariffs and butane prices. Electricity tariffs were decreased in January of this year and are more than twenty percent lower than they were in April of 2014. On average a hundred pounds cylinder of butane is now ninety three dollars compared to 126 dollars twelve months ago. Looking at the transport category which is down by 6.4 percent we attribute this decrease mainly to decreased fuel prices. The food and alcoholic beverages housing water, electricity, gas and other fuels along with the transport category together comprise of the 70 percent of the CPI while the all other goods and services category account for approximately thirty percent.”
The biggest drop was in Belize city which had an inflation rate of negative 1.5 percent. Reporting for Love News, I am Hipolito Novelo.