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#517239 - 08/31/16 07:42 PM July 2016 Trade, GDP & Consumer Price Index
Marty Offline

Consumer Price Index

CONSUMER PRICES UP 1% AS FUEL AND HOUSE RENT RISE

The Statistical Institute of Belize’s latest statistics show that, on average, consumer prices were 1.0 percent higher in July 2016 than in the month of July 2015. The All-Items Consumer Price Index stood at 103.8, up from 102.8 in same month last year. For the first seven months of 2016, an inflation rate of 0.6 percent was recorded, as lower fuel prices in the earlier months of the year helped to keep inflation down at the start of the year.

Home rental prices, a major expenditure item for Belizean households, rose by an average of 2.5 percent compared to last July. This was partly offset by a decrease in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), with the average price of a 100-pound cylinder down from $90 in July of last year to $82 in July 2016, and lower electricity tariffs in comparison to twelve months ago. As a result, an overall increase of 1.7 percent was seen in the category of “Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels”.

Premium gasoline and diesel prices continued to rise, recording increases of 1.5 percent and 13 percent, respectively, compared to July 2015. This increase was offset by lower international airfares, which were down by 12 percent, leaving the “Transport” category virtually unchanged overall.

On average, prices for “Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages” were also largely unchanged, with the category decreasing by 0.2 percent overall during the month. At the individual product level, beef and sugar were among the products whose prices were up in comparison to July 2015, while eggs, chicken and vegetable oil saw price decreases.

Across “All Other Categories of Goods and Services” prices rose, on average, by 1.5 percent, due mainly to higher health insurance premiums and doctors’ consultation fees.

All municipalities recorded increases in consumer prices during the month, with Orange Walk Town recording the highest inflation rate at 2 percent followed by Corozal Town at 1.8 percent. These two locations had the largest increases in home rental costs, while Dangriga, which recorded only a very minimal increase in the cost of this item, saw the lowest rate of inflation at 0.2 percent.

Click here for the whole report!


External Trade Bulletin

IMPORTS AND EXPORTS BOTH DOWN IN JULY

IMPORTS

JULY: During the month of June 2016, Belize’s imported Belize’s total imports for the month of July 2016 were valued at $173 million. This was a decrease of 8.8 percent or $16.7 million from imports for July 2015, which totaled $189.7 million.

Imports for July 2016 were down across most major categories when compared to July 2015, with the largest declines being in imports of ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ and goods destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’, which fell by over $8 million each. The decline in ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ resulted from a drop of more than one half in the quantity of diesel fuel imported coupled with the fact that no premium gasoline came into the country during the month. Decreased purchases of shrimp feed, generators, electric motors and gaming machines caused the drop in imports for ‘Export Processing Zones’. Additionally, decreased importation of fertilizers led to a $4 million drop in the ‘Chemical Products’ category, while items headed for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ were reduced by the same amount, as purchases of textile material and clothing declined in comparison to July 2015.

‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ was one of the few categories that saw any significant increase during July 2016, as higher purchases of four-cylinder and diesel vehicles resulted in growth of almost $5 million. The ‘Other Manufactures’ category was up by almost $4 million, driven by increased imports of prefabricated steel buildings, laboratory plastics, electric lamps and lamp fittings, while the ‘Food and Live Animals’ category rose by over $1 million, the result of a rise in purchases of various food items.

FIRST SEVEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports for the seven months from January to July 2016 totaled $1.1 billion, representing a 3.4 percent or $40.2 million decrease from the same period last year. The categories of ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, ‘Commercial Free Zones’, ‘Export Processing Zones’ and ‘Manufactured Goods’ fell by a combined $107. These were partially offset by sizeable increases in purchases of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ and ‘Food and Live Animals’, which together grew by almost $60 million.

EXPORTS

JULY: Total domestic exports for July 2016 amounted to $30 million, down 53 percent or $33.9 million when compared to $63.9 million in exports for the month of July 2015.

As occurred in June, a change in the scheduling of bulk shipments of sugar was the main cause of this decline, with sugar exports for the month valued at $7 million compared to $32 million in July of last year. Of note, July 2016 marked the first shipment from sugar producer Santander, which supplied almost $6 million of the total exports of this product for the month.

Crude petroleum, another of the country’s major commodities, recorded no exports for the month of July 2016, in contrast to the $5 exported during July of last year. Sales of marine products also dropped sharply, from $8 million to $4.5 million, as shrimp exports were minimal for the month of July 2016. Banana sales decreased only marginally during the month.

Citrus was the only major export to have performed positively in the month of July 2016, growing by over a million dollars, from $3.9 million to $5.2 million, owing to favourable orange concentrate sales.

FIRST SEVEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the period January to July 2016 totaled $261.8 million, down almost one third or $106.8 million from the $368.7 million recorded for same period last year.

All major exports, with the exception of citrus, fell during the first seven months of 2016 when compared to the same period last year. With shrimp exports at only a small fraction of what they were for this period in 2015, sales of marine products dropped by more than two thirds, from $59 million to $19 million. Sugar, which saw a 13 percent reduction in the volume of exports, faced a loss of more than one third in export revenues, from $104 million to $68 million, as prices fetched on the European market remained lower than they were in 2015. Earnings from crude petroleum dropped by almost one half, from $23.5 million to $12.5 million, the result of a decline in the quantity exported and coupled with lower world market prices. Banana exports declined by 30 percent compared to the same seven month period in 2015.

Citrus emerged as the sole major export that saw improved earnings over the period January to July 2016. Belize benefited from favourable world market prices, allowing for an increase of $5 million in citrus earnings, despite a drop in the volume of citrus concentrate exported.

Click here for the whole report!

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY DOWN 1.6% IN SECOND QUARTER: SLOWDOWN IN AGRICULTURE AND MANUFACTURING

For the three months from April to June 2016, the level of economic activity for the country of Belize declined by 1.6 percent in comparison to the same period in 2015. Estimates by the Statistical Institute of Belize indicate that the total value of goods and services produced during this period was $713.2 million, down $11.3 million from the $724.5 million produced during the second quarter of 2015.

PRIMARY ACTIVITIES: The primary sector experienced a sharp drop of 26 percent during the second quarter, as several major industries recorded downturns during this period. Citrus production was down by one fourth from the second quarter of 2015, with 14,000 fewer boxes of orange fruit being delivered. This was as a result of smaller crops, aging fruit trees, and adverse weather conditions which affected fruit maturity. The closure of one of the large banana farms coupled with the lingering effects of bad weather conditions led to a 22 percent reduction in banana production. Marine production also saw a sharp decline as the shrimp industry, its top export earner, continued to struggle.

Sugarcane production, on the other hand, rose by 24 percent during the period, due to an earlier start to the crop season as well as the addition of a new producer in the Cayo district. Logging and forestry activities also saw a significant increase, with sawn wood exports rising by 60 percent during the quarter.

The services sector, which accounts for well over one half of the country’s economic activities, grew by 3.8 percent during the second quarter of 2016. Wholesale and retail trade activities saw a moderate increase of 2 percent, while tourism recorded a strong performance, growing by 13 percent when compared to the same three month period in 2015. With the addition of seven new cruise ships visiting Belize, the number of cruise visitors jumped by almost 30,000. The number of overnight visitors also saw a substantial increase of 13,000 persons over the period.

Click here for the whole report!


BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT SURVEY

The Statistical Institute of Belize, over the period from April to June 2016, carried out its first Business Establishment Survey (BES) in almost ten years. Over 4,100 businesses of varying sizes across the country were included in the BES 2016, with data being collected on the general characteristics and finances of business establishments in Belize.

Preliminary survey findings indicated that business activity was most highly concentrated in the Belize district, where 31 percent of all establishments were located, and the Cayo district, which contained twenty percent of all businesses in the country. This was generally consistent with the geographic distribution of the population, these two districts accounting for just over a half of all persons living in the country. Only 9 percent of businesses were located in Toledo, the country’s least populated district.

The vast majority of the country’s businesses, almost three out of every four establishments, were on the lower end of the size spectrum, reporting gross annual earnings of $75,000 or less for the year 2014. More than one half of all establishments reported income of less than $25,000. Just over one fifth fell within the range of $75,000 to $1 million, while only 6.5 percent reported that they had earnings in excess of $1 million for 2014. Almost 90 percent of all establishments had 10 or fewer employees at the time of the survey.

“Wholesale and Retail Trade” was the dominant type of economic activity, with approximately two fifths of the country’s establishments engaged in this type of enterprise. About 58 percent of businesses that were engaged in wholesale and retail trade reported gross earnings of less than $25,000 for the year 2014, indicating that a large proportion of these establishments were relatively small. Businesses engaged in ‘Accommodation and Food Service Activities” accounted for 16.5 percent of all establishments, with over a half of these reporting annual earnings of less than $25,000. Of the ‘Manufacturing’ sector, which accounted for 9.7 percent of all businesses in Belize, more than half saw gross revenues of less than $25,000 in the year 2014.

Click here for the whole report!

You may download the entire series for both External Trade and CPI in Excel format from the Statistical Institute of Belize website: (http://www.sib.org.bz/statistics)


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#517249 - 09/01/16 11:19 AM Re: July 2016 Trade, GDP & Consumer Price Index [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

GDP Going Down, Down, Down

The Statistical Institute of Belize released its figures gauging the performance of the economy for the second quarter of 2016. They say that the economy contracted sharply by 1.6 percent when compared to the same period last year. That's not good news, and when you factor in that these statistics were taken before Hurricane Earl devastated the country, it's even more dismal.

We'll get to that picture later but first, here's a snapshot of the how your purchasing power has fluctuated on the usual household items for to months of January to July. Statistician Angelita Campbell explained today at the SIB press conference:

Angelita Campbell, Statistician
"The diagram in front of us now illustrates the spending pattern of the average Belizean household and that information was taken from the 2008 household expenditure survey. If we look closely at the information presented, we have housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels taking roughly about 26% of the spending. Food, non-alcoholic beverages are roughly 20% and transport is roughly 14%. Those three categories sum to about 60% of the average household spending. in the food and nonalcoholic beverages category we saw a variation in terms of prices across the board, some of which, might be went up by roughly 5%, we had vegetables and fruits going up and also sugar increasing in that category. However we saw red kidney beans going down by roughly 11% as we've been seeing since the start of this year. Chicken went down by 0.7% and we also saw a decrease in egg roughly 15%."

From there, Statistician Stephanie Vasquez took a look at the country's import and export earnings to measure how the different industries have been performing so far for this year. Here's her outline:

Stephanie Vasquez, Statistician
"The period of January to July of this year, Belize's imports were valued at 1.1 billion dollars, down 3.4% or 40.2 million from January to July of 2015. It was observed that the categories that contributed the most to this period's declining imports are to a large extent the export processing zones, mineral fuels and lubricants, the commercial free zones and to a lesser degree, manufactured goods. In 2016 the export processing zones category failed by 37 million dollars to 31 million dollars. Machinery and transport equipment which is Belize's largest import type grew by 49 million dollars to 303 million dollars. A 19% increase over that of January to July 2015 mostly contributed to the rising imports of parts and 4 cylinder vehicles. When imports of 2015 and 2016 are compared by month, it was observed that imports in general have been trending down. April and May 2016 were the exception as large spikes in machinery and transport equipment drove imports beyond what was recorded for April and May 2015. Domestic exports for the period January to July of this year totaled 261.8 million dollars, down 29% or 106.8 million from January to July of 2015. All major exports with the exception of citrus followed the period and hence is the cause of 29% drop in the export earnings. Marine exports fell by a substantial 40.2 million dollars to 19 million dollars due almost entirely to plummeting shrimp exports. Sugar exports dropped by 35.6 million dollars to 68 million dollars mainly due to changes to the scheduling of bulk shipments and to a lesser extent, lower prices for that commodity. Banana declined by 17.6 million dollars to 42 million dollars while crude gains diminished by 11 million dollars to 12.5 million dollars. Citrus, the only major export to have performed positively over the period saw increased earnings of 5.2 million dollars growing to 68.2 million dollars."

So, the negative performance of the country's exports has caused the GDP to shrink by 1.6%. Statistician Jefte Ochaeta provided a look at the bigger context of how a downturn in the productive sector drives the overall economy down:

Jefte Ochaeta, Statistician
"So for the months of April - June, the economy in Belize producing goods and services has fell by 1.6% basically a decrease of 11.3 million dollars compared to the year of 2015 around that same period. So in this graph here we can see basically for the second part of GDP how it's decreased throughout the series observing that it had been increase and then in 2014-2016 there has been a fall in the 2nd part of GDP. When we take into account the first 6 months, the economy has had also a negative performance of 1.5% or as we are seeing here basically it's decreasing substantially by about 14 million dollars. So what's been causing the decrease in the 2nd part of GDP? First of all, there has been a record decrease in the -- industries of 26% maybe due to a fact that we've observed a decrease of 4.6% in agricultural production."

The Total value of goods and services produced in the last 3 months was $713 million, which is 11 million dollars less than last year's production of 724.5 million dollars.

Channel 7


Belize economy continues to shrink

With a decline in production from major contributors to the national economy, Belize’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continues to contract, with the tertiary sector, and primarily tourism, helping to buffer the negative effects of declines in sectors such as agriculture and fishing.

Overall, the Belize economy contracted by $22 million (or 1.5%) for the first six months of 2016, spanning January to June 2016. Jefte Ochaeta, SIB Statistician, announced at a press conference held today that there was a record 26% decline in the primary industries, led by sharp declines in the sugar, crude oil, banana and marine products.

The official data indicate that the Belize economy has contracted for the second consecutive quarter, with a decline of 1.6% for the second quarter following on the heels of a reported 2% decline for the first quarter of 2016. The statistical reports do not account for the impacts of Hurricane Earl, which struck in August.

The last marked growth was seen over a year ago. After March 2015, quarterly GDP has been mostly negative, with the exception of the last quarter of 2015.

“Estimates by the Statistical Institute of Belize indicate that the total value of goods and services produced during this period was $713.2 million, down $11.3 million from the $724.5 million produced during the second quarter of 2015,” the SIB reported.

It added that citrus production was down by one fourth from the second quarter of 2015, with 14,000 fewer boxes of orange fruit being delivered.

“This was as a result of smaller crops, aging fruit trees, and adverse weather conditions which affected fruit maturity,” the SIB said, adding that the closure of a large banana farm coupled with lingering effects of bad weather accounted for a 22% decline in banana production.

Ochaeta pointed to declines in the secondary sector as well, including a decline in livestock production, but there was an increase of 31% in the production of carbonated drinks, such as soft drinks.

“With the Spanish Lookout oil field, the only site still in operation, crude petroleum extraction continued to dwindle, dropping by 14 percent during the quarter,” the SIB said.

“Nonetheless, there were some bright spots within the secondary sector. Construction activities expanded by 12 percent, due to continued investment in infrastructure projects, while water production was up by 9 percent, as service continued to be expanded to rural communities,” the SIB said.

Another bright spot was the performance in the tertiary sector—which actually accounts for 60% of economic output. According to Ochaeta, this sector grew by 3.8 percent during the second quarter of 2016, led by tourism growth of 13%.

Both imports and exports down

In line with reduced economic production, the SIB recorded a decline in Belize’s domestic exports, and all major exports except citrus saw a decline. Banana exports declined a whopping 30%.

Declines were reported in exports of sugar, marine, bananas and crude.

“Sugar, which saw a 13 percent reduction in the volume of exports, faced a loss of more than one third in export revenues, from $104 million to $68 million, as prices fetched on the European market remained lower than they were in 2015,” the SIB said. Losses in sugar included the destruction of molasses attributed to Maillard Reaction at the Belize Sugar Industries last month.

“Earnings from crude petroleum dropped by almost one half, from $23.5 million to $12.5 million, the result of a decline in the quantity exported and coupled with lower world market prices,” the SIB said.

SIB Statistician, Tiffany Vasquez, noted that imports are also trending down, with the exception of April and May 2016.

For January to July 2016, Belize’s import bill is more than four times its export earnings, $1.1 billion versus $261.8 million for the first half of 2016. During that period, imports were down by 3.4%, or $40 million, while exports were down by 29%, or $106.8 million.

Inflation up

The SIB also reported on the latest inflation data. Angelita Campbell, SIB Statistician, told the media that inflation for July was up 1%, and by 0.6% for the first 7 months of 2016.

“Home rental prices, a major expenditure item for Belizean households, rose by an average of 2.5 percent compared to last July,” Campbell said.

However, this was partly offset by a decrease in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The average price of a 100-pound cylinder was down from $90 in July 2015 to $82 in July 2016.

Whereas gasoline prices were up overall by 1.5%, there was a marked increase in diesel prices of 13% over the same time last year.

Every municipality recorded increases in consumer prices during the month of July, with Orange Walk Town recording the highest inflation rate at 2%. On the other hand, Dangriga recorded the lowest rate of inflation at 0.2 percent.

Campbell said that fuel prices shot up in Orange Walk, and rental prices were notably high in Corozal while food prices saw a notable dip in Dangriga.

Mexico reported an inflation rate of 2.7% and Guatemala a rate of 4.6% for the same period, Campbell said.

GDP PowerPoint courtesy SIB

Amandala


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