The statistical institute of Belize (SIB) has released their number for the month of July. Their report revealed that the inflation rate increase by 0.1% when compared to July 2019. According to Daysi Montero, Statistician for SIB, the cost of living went up marginally last month and this was as a result of higher prices on a variety of food items and on home rental costs.
Daysi Montero, Statistician: “These are the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels category which increased by 0.7%. The food and non alcoholic beverage category which went up by 1%, the transport category was the only one that saw a decrease of 2.1% however I must mention that this was the major category exerting downward pressure on the overall inflation rate. For the purpose of this presentation we grouped the remaining goods and services in all other categories of goods and services which also saw an increase of 0.2% We can now see that increases in the three categories were partially offset by decrease in the transport category giving the low inflation rate of 0.1% for the month of July 2020.”
A decline in imports and exports over July of last year was also recorded. According to, Tiffany Vasquez Statistician for SIB, last month Belize imported a total of $119 million in goods, this represents a decrease of $72.4 Million or 37.8% over July of 2019. This is the third consecutive month imports have declined by more than 30% due to low purchasing power being low due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tiffany Vasquez, Statistician: “For the period of January to July of 2020 Belize’s imports were valued at $912.8 million dollars. This was a notable decrease of 19.3% or almost $219 million dollar when compared to January to July of 2019. This drop in effect highlights the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as weakened demand for merchandised good prompted the decrease to imports across almost all commodity categories over the period. With a fall off in imported quantities of diesel, regular, kerosene and bunker c fuels coupled with lower world market prices for fuel the mineral fuels and lubricants category say the largest decline falling by 41% or $74.7 million to $106.3 million. Goods destined for the commercial free zones fell by $50.9 million dollars to $132.6 million, this was a 28% drop due to decrease to imports across a number of items including clothing and bags. For the period January to July of 2020 Belize’s domestic exports were valued at $220.4 million dollars, this was a decrease 13.1% or $33.3 million when compared to exports of January to July of 2019. While this overall down turn was the result of decreased revenues for a few of our major exports one cannot discount the role world market prices played in this outcome.”
For the second quarter of 2020 which is the period from April to June Belize’s production declined by 14.7%. Belize produced a total of $558 million in goods and services which represents a decrease of $169 million when compared to last year. Statistician Jacqueline Sabal broke down the number as it relates to the country’s GDP.
Jacqueline Sabal, Statistician: “The sector with the largest contribution was the tertiary sector which accounted for 60.4% of production. The secondary sector accounted for roughly 15.4%, the primary sector 12.7% and the remaining 11.6% was in taxes. For the second quarter months of April to June 2020 Belize produced goods and services totaling $558.6 million dollars. This represents a decrease of $169.9 million dollars or 23.3% when compared to the second quarter of 2019. For the first six months of the year a cumulative decrease of 14.7% was observed when compared to the first half of 2019. Looking specifically at second quarter GDP at constant prices over a six year period the graph outlines an upward trend in quarter two GDP steadily increasing from 2015 to 2018 and then dropping by 3.2% in 2019. Nonetheless production remained in the $700 million dollar range. However in 2020 production fell considerably to $558.6 million dollars. During this period the country continued to suffer the effects of COVID-19 coupled with the impact of dry weather conditions from 2019 which extended through to early 2020. Decreased production was observed across all sectors particularly the tertiary sector as the wholesale and retail trade industry saw less goods imported during the quarter and the hotels and restaurants industry which was at a virtual standstill due to a lack of tourist visitors to the country.