3rd quarter stats for 2009 show modest improvement in economy
Last week the Prime Minister expressed a degree of optimism saying that the economic outlook will improve in the first quarter of this year. And according to the latest figures for the third quarter of 2009, the Statistical Institute says there was a “modest improvement” over the first two quarters of last year. In terms of specifics, however, the wholesale and retail trade sectors contracted by seven point four percent. This was followed by a contraction of five point four percent in the services sectors in respect of overnight tourist arrivals and expenditures. The transportations sector, according to the SIB stats, also went down by one point four percent due to reduced movement in trade and tourism. The silver lining was in the manufacturing sector which grew by one point seven percent due to an increase in oil production. Construction, financial and other business services showed the best growth of twelve point three percent, primarily because of improvements in the production of bananas. Of particular note is that total imports fell to three hundred and twenty-five million compared to 2008, when it totaled one point four billion, that’s a decrease of twenty-two percent. Import purchases at the Corozal Free Zone, went down considerably by fifty point eight percent, totaling only one hundred and thirty point nine million dollars. On the domestic front, the employment figure stood at twelve point five percent with Toledo experiencing the highest rate. While the rate of inflation is reported to have declined to the lowest rate in a decade, the effects might have been negated by the one point eight percent increase in food prices.