J.P. Morgan, a leading financial advice agency, is reporting that Belize’s fiscal position for 2012 is sound. In its Latin America and Caribbean Outlook for 2012, the financial agency explains that the restructuring of the Super Bond is inevitable. It states that “any hope that the Barrow administration would reconsider plans to restructure the Super Bond has vanished. Accordingly, attention is now squarely on the shape that such a restructuring will take, rather than if there will be one at all.” It goes on to say that the Debt Review Team “will engage investors to see whether terms that are beneficial to both sides can be negotiated,” adding that it wants to make the restructuring “as amicable as possible.”
The report goes on stating that economic output is projected to strengthen in 2012. This is attributed to good performances in the sugar industry, citrus juice production, greater activity in the wholesale and retail trade, as well as improvement in overnight tourist arrivals benefitting hotels, restaurants and the transportation industry. The report says that “Our forecast for 2012 calls for real GDP growth to strengthen to 3.0% y/y, its highest level since 2008.”
J.P. Morgan also points out that, “The fiscal deficit narrowed to US$8 million (0.5% of GDP) in 2011 from US$23 million (1.7% of GDP) in 2010. The improvement says the report is as a result of 4.2% rise in revenues up to 401 million dollars and a very small increase in expenditure of 0.1% up to $408 million dollars.” J.P. explained that, “while revenue growth was by strong performance of receipts, the increase in expenditures was driven by a 23.3% y/y plunge in capitaloutlays, as current spending actually rose 4.7% last year due to continued growth in the wage bill and an increase in external debt servicing costs.”
The report concludes that the “Vital tourism sector holds its own” with overnight visitors increasing by 3.0%. That is representative of an increase of arrivals from 227,000 in 2010 to 233,000 in 2011.
All in all, the report paints a fairly bright prognosis for Belize’s economy, all because of the excellent stewardship by the UDP government and Hon. Dean Barrow’s leadership which is founded on of fiscal prudence and people-centered governance.