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#484572 - 01/30/14 09:47 AM Trade Balance in 2013 Was Highest, Inflation Low
Marty Online   happy

The other figures released today were for the consumer price index and the external trade ratio.  As the Director General explained, the trade imbalance was higher than ever:

Jules Vasquez Reporting

Glen Avilez - Director General, SIB
"At the top you have 2 lines, the blue one and the red one. The blue one represents all imports, and the red one represents all imports excluding the Corozal Free Zone. You'll see that there is a huge difference between what we import, and what we export. In fact, it seems that we import almost 3 times what we export as a country. In 2013, we imported a total of 1.3 billion dollars' worth of goods from the rest of the world. This is an increase of 8%, or roughly 133 million dollars. I want to highlight 2 of the categories that combine for 106 million dollars of this 133 million dollars that I spoke to you about. Machinery and transport equipment, up by 51 million dollars in 2013. For the 10-year period between 2003 and 2013, imports were growing at an average annual rate of 5.3%. In 2013 that rate accelerated to 8%."

And while imports were at a record high - exports were down by 51 million dollars:

Glen Avilez
"The decrease in our export revenues were largely due to lower oil and citrus receipts. In fact, these 2 products combine for 90 million dollars less revenues."

Inflation and the consumer price index - was also surprisingly low.

Glen Avilez
"Between December 2012 and December 2013, the CPI increased by 1.6%. Simply saying that if an item - on average - cost $1 in December 2013, it would cost 1 dollar and 1 cents. It should that in 2013, the average prices of goods - and this is across the 250 items that we monitor. Prices went up by a mere 0.5% I'm sure that your reaction is, why is it so low? Something must be wrong. But, when we compare with other countries - and here, I have the US and Canada, for 2012, and 2013. The CPI for the US was 2.1% in 2012, and that changed to 1.5% in 2013. In 2012, the St. Kitts inflation was similar to what Belize experienced 1.4%, the same in Dominica. And very close to home, El Salvador had 1.7%."

If that doesn’t jibe with your shopping experience-

Glen Avilez
"People will talk to you about their individual situations, and yes, a number of goods have been seeing an increase over the years, particularly food items. Food items are now 3.6% higher than they were last. But, if you would talk to persons, those same persons about items like clothing, which has remained, or for the most part, has been fallen. It is easy to criticize the SIB and say that our figures are wrong, but it is not unique to Belize that we have low inflation rates. Yes, individuals and even organizations will contradict what we have presented, but they go by the gut feels. We go by what really exists."

According to the S-I-B, Belize current population is 351 thousand, 300 persons.

Channel 7


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#484573 - 01/30/14 09:51 AM Re: Trade Balance in 2013 Was Highest, Inflation Low [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Statistical Institute of Belize Report: Imports are up, exports down

The Statistical Institute of Belize today hosted a press briefing to provide an update on comparative unemployment, inflation and external trade statistics for 2013. Traditionally the institute is accessed only through releases or visits to the website…and frequently, those statistics are perceived to be manipulated for state purposes. That’s because public perception is a weighty thing, perhaps even more so that black and white figures on a printout. Still, the S.I.B. continues to churn out statistics, and is even seeking to dispel those pesky criticisms of manipulation by making themselves, and their statistics, much more accessible by the wider public. Today was the launch of the new, visible S.I.B. and Mike Rudon has the story, and the stats.

FOR VIDEO CLICK HERE

Mike Rudon, Reporting

In addition to sending out regular stat sheets and emails, the SIB has scheduled six press conferences in 2014. It’s a new initiative designed to allow the SIB to reach out to the public, making data more accessible, understandable and user friendly. That’s a good thing by any estimation, since figures and percentages are a foreign language to many. Today Director of the Institute Glen Avilez opened the conference with the news that exports have decreased, while imports have grown.

Glen Avilez

Glen Avilez, Director, Statistical Institute of Belize

“We had a very strong increase in imports in 2013 compared to other years. In 2013 we imported a total of one point nine billion dollars worth of goods from the rest of the world. This is an increase of eight percent or roughly a hundred and thirty-three million dollars. When compared to the previous years it was a much higher performance, a stronger performance.”

Imports increased in all areas with the exception of oils and fats. The sectors showing the most significant increase were machinery and transport equipment. Domestic exports, on the other hand, have decreased, largely because of a decline in oil production.

Glen Avilez

“Unlike imports, they contract in 2013. Exports were at their highest level in 2011 and in 2012 they dipped, well they fell; it was more than a dip. And again in 2013 there was another fall. This fall was eight percent, almost matching the growth in imports. The decrease in our exports revenues were largely due to lower oil and citrus receipts. In fact these two products combined for ninety million dollars less revenues.”

Areas which showed the strongest performance in export revenue were marine products and animal feed. Imports increased by eight percent, while exports fell by eight percent, making for what economists call a widening trade imbalance. Doesn’t sound like a positive thing, but there is some positive news – inflation was up by only point five percent, when averaged out between 2012 and 2013.

Glen Avilez

“We have a basket of two hundred and sixty goods and services, which our officers in the back and some who are not present today, collected on at least a quarterly basis. We have food prices and fuel prices which are collected monthly so we can monitor the change in these goods. Price collection occurs in all urban areas with the exception of Benque Viejo and San Pedro Ambergris Caye. So Corozal Town, Orange Walk Town, Belize City, Belmopan, Dangriga, Punta Gorda any place missed San Ignacio, thank you. Between, and this is a point to point change, between December 2012 and December 2013, the CPI increased by one point six percent.”

One point six percent, averaged out over the calendar year, amounts to a mere zero point five percent. And see, that’s where perception and figures meet in a head on collision. Widespread belief is that the cost of goods and services continues to go up, which makes inflation of only point five percent seems incredible, or maybe even manufactured.

Glen Avilez

“What we have the benefit of is that we do price collection in all parts of the country. People will talk to you about their individual situations. And yes a number of goods have seen an increase over the years, particularly food items. Food items are now about three point six percent higher than they were last year. But if you would talk to those same persons about items like clothing, which has remain constant for the most part has been fallen; that is to be considered. There are quite a number of goods whose prices have not changed over that period. So we have the extremes of some goods increasing I think in your kit, there are few examples of some goods having double digit increases and then there are those that have fallen during the year. Then you have in the middle, a large number of goods whose prices have remained relatively flat. And so doing the simple math of averaging a thousand zeros, am sorry, we only have two hundred and sixty items. Lets day there are seventy-five items whose prices have remained flat at zero, it cancels out those that have been increasing by ten percent, eight percent and so we end up with the zero point five percent.”

According to Avilez, Belize’s current inflation rates are consistent with those in Canada and the US, which have gone down. Mike Rudon for News Five.

Channel 5


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#485498 - 02/08/14 10:16 AM Re: Trade Balance in 2013 Was Highest, Inflation Low [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
Statistical Institute of Belize Says Erroneous Conclusions are Being Drawn From Recent Data

The Statistical Institute of Belize has issued a press release to counter what it describes as “erroneous conclusions being drawn from recently released September 2013 Labour Force Survey results and the 2013 inflation rate”. The Institute says that it wishes to clarify that unlike the Gross Domestic Product, which refers to economic activity during an entire calendar year, the Labour Force Survey provides a snapshot of the employment situation of only the one month of the year in which it is carried out. The survey results, it says, are specific to the month of September 2013 and it is not advisable to use this single data point to draw inferences about unemployment for the entire year.

The Institute further states that there is not necessarily a direct correlation between the GDP growth rate and the unemployment rate and adds that in the third quarter of 2013 two of the major industries, petroleum and electricity, recorded decreases in production. This reality, it says, contributed to the relatively low GDP growth rate. These industries, it continues, are labour-intensive and their declines did not impact upon the overall level of employment. Meanwhile, regarding concerns about the criteria used to qualify a person as employed the Statistical Institute points out that this is in line with internationally accepted definitions of employment and is the same criteria that have been used in previous surveys. This ensures that comparisons of our unemployment rates over time and with other countries are valid.

The Institute also advises that with respect to the inflation rate for 2013, this statistic is an average of the changes in prices of a large number of goods and services. The perception that food prices have increased, it says, is confirmed in the data released, where it was shown that there was an average increase of 3.6 percent in food items in 2013 alone. For specific items such as poultry and red kidney beans that have been cited as evidence that the national inflation rate is not valid, the Institute’s data does in fact show higher price increases than the overall average. However, while this is the case for selected items, according to the Institute, others have recorded price decreases and the vast majority remained unchanged during 2013 and the inflation rate is calculated using internationally accepted methodologies.

The Statistical Institute says that it stands behind the integrity of its data and welcomes any queries and requests for clarifications.

LOVEFM

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