Statistical Institute of Belize reports sluggish economy in second quarter
CONSUMER PRICES DOWN 1% IN JULY
Latest figures on consumer prices released by the Statistical
Institute of Belize show that the All-Items consumer price
index stood at 102.8, a decline of 1 percent from 103.8 in
last July. For the first seven months of this year, an inflation
rate of negative 1 percent was recorded. This means that,
on average, goods and services that Belizean households
regularly buy were 1 percent cheaper than during the same
period in 2014.
The ‘Transport’ category declined by 7.1 percent and remains
the single greatest contributor to the overall fall in consumer
prices. The prices of premium and regular gasoline decreased
by 25 percent and 19 percent respectively, while the price of
diesel was more than one fourth lower when compared to July
2014. Similarly, international airfares were down by almost 25
percent from the same month last year.
Food prices were almost unchanged, declining by an average
of half of a percent during the month of July when compared
to the same period last year. Despite increases in some
products, such as beef, pork and eggs, substantial decreases
in the prices of fresh vegetables and red kidney beans resulted
in the marginal overall decrease.
The inflation rate for the category of ‘Housing, Water, Electricity,
Gas and Other Fuels’ was negative 0.5 percent during the
month. Home rental prices inched up by 0.2 percent but were
offset by a drop in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
from $116 in July 2014 to $90 in July 2015.
All municipalities across the country recorded a decrease
in consumer prices during the month of July 2015, with the
exception of Dangriga, where there was an increase of 1.8
percent due to a greater than average increase in home rental
prices. On the other hand, Belmopan, where home rental
costs were the slowest to rise, continued to reflect the largest
decline in consumer prices of negative 2.1 percent.
You may download the entire series for both External Trade and CPI in Excel format from our website
IMPORTS UP SLIGHTLY, WHILE SUGAR DRIVES
DOMESTIC EXPORTS UP 15%
Belize’s total imports for the month of July 2015 were valued at
$189.7 million. This was an increase of $3.9 million or 2.1 percent
over last July’s imports, which were valued at $185.8 million.
‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ recorded the largest drop of
$10 million, from $34 million to $24 million, as world fuel prices
remained lower than they were a year ago. This decline served to
offset, for the most part, significant increases of $7 million in the
category of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ and $5 million in
‘Food and Live Animals’. Higher purchases of telecommunications
equipment drove the former, while a continued growth in wheat
seed purchases was the main contributor to the latter.
For the first seven months of 2015, merchandise imports totaled
$1.2 billion, increasing 4.4 percent or $50.3 million over the
same period last year. Belize spent $45 million less on ‘Mineral
and Fuel and Lubricants’, despite increases in the quantities of
diesel, premium and regular fuels imported. However, $37 million
more was spent on ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, owing
to greater purchases of sailboats, airplanes, motor vehicles and
telecommunications equipment within the seven month period.
Imports of ‘Manufactured Goods’ went up by $16.5 million, the
result of a steady upward trend in the importation of tires and
steel, while, fertilizer and medical supply purchases led to an
almost $12 million rise in imports of ‘Chemical Products’. For the
seven months from January to July 2015, imports destined for
the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ grew by $20 million.
Total domestic exports for July 2015 amounted to $63.8 million,
up $8.4 million or 15.1 percent when compared to last July. A
strong performance in sugar exports was almost single-handedly
responsible for this growth, which was the largest percentage
increase in domestic exports observed in any single month this
year so far. All other major exports experienced notable declines,
with the exception of bananas, which were almost unchanged
when compared to July 2014.
Belize’s sugar exports grew sharply by $29 million during the
month, from $3 million to $32 million, as higher quality sugar
cane yielded more sugar per ton. Citrus exports, on the other
hand, decreased by almost $10 million from $14 million to $4
million, the result of a sharp drop in orange concentrate sales for
the month of July. Nonetheless, orange concentrate exports are
expected to improve in the coming months. Continued low world
market prices for crude petroleum led to an $8.5 million decline in export earnings from this commodity. Additionally, farm shrimp sales were
halved for the second consecutive month to almost $4 million, resulting in an overall $2 million drop marine exports.
Merchandise exports for the period January to July 2015 totaled $367.9 million, down 7.2% or a $28.8 million over the same period last
year. Crude petroleum had the largest share in that decline, with reduced earnings amounting to $41 million, an almost two-thirds drop
from the $65 million recorded in 2014. Additionally, citrus concentrate earnings fell by $13 million during the seven month period, from $76
million to $63 million. Sugar earnings, which grew by a considerable 39 percent from $75 million to $104 million, partially compensated for
the drop recorded in other major exports. A growth of $5 million in banana sales also contributed positively to Belize’s total exports for the