External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS AND EXPORTS BOTH DOWN IN DECEMBER 2015
During the month of January 2016, Belize’s total imports were
valued at almost $131 million, falling by 7.5 percent or $10.7
million when compared to the $141.6 million imported in January
The ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and ‘Export Processing Zones’
were among the categories recording the largest declines in
imports. Purchases for the Commercial Free Zones diminished
by almost $11 million, from $28 million to $17 million, mainly due
to an $8 million reduction in the importation of cigarettes. A $3
million dollar drop in shrimp feed imports led to a decrease in
goods destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’ to $5 million,
half of what was recorded for January 2015. ‘Mineral Fuels and
Lubricants’ also fell by over $5 million, from $16 million to $10.6
million, as the quantities of regular and diesel fuels imported were
down, while no premium fuel was imported in January 2016.
On the other hand, imports for the categories of ‘Machinery
and Transport Equipment’ and ‘Food and Live Animals’ saw the
greatest growth for the first month of the year. The former, which
rose by about $6 million, from $27 million to $33 million, was
the direct result of increased purchases of four cylinder vehicles,
transformers, loaders and aircraft engines. The latter went up by
$4 million, from $13 million to $17 million, to due in large part to
greater purchases of corn seed for the month of January.
The total value of Belize’s domestic exports for the month of
January 2016 was $22.8 million, down 29.5 percent or $9.5
million from the $32.3 million recorded in January 2015.
Marine products, which recorded the best performance among
the major exports in January 2015, fell steeply in January 2016
from $12 million to $2.5 million, owing to a $10 million fall in
shrimp earnings. Only a little over half a million dollars worth of
shrimp was exported for the month, as the industry embarks on
restocking its ponds. Earnings from banana exports shrank from
$7.6 million to less than $5 million, as the exported volume for this
product dropped by over a third. Additionally, orange concentrate
sales declined from $5 million to $3.5 million, resulting in an
overall $2 million drop in citrus exports for the month.
In contrast, sales for both crude petroleum and sugar grew for the
month of January. Crude petroleum, which recorded no exports in January 2015, brought in earnings of over $3 million during the first
month of 2016. Despite fetching a lower price on the European market, sugar exports were buffered by sales to the Caribbean region, and
grew from half a million dollars in January 2015 to almost $2 million, as the quantity of this product exported almost tripled in comparison
to January 2015. More than a quarter of the country’s export earnings for the month came from the category of “Other Exports”, as animal
feed exports doubled from $2 million to $4 million.
Exports to Mexico and the United Kingdom were directly impacted by reduced farm shrimp sales. Exports to the former fell by $4 million
while earnings from the latter declined by $3 million. Earnings from the Caricom countries declined by $2 million compared to the same
month in 2015, due largely to a decrease in orange concentrate exports to that region.
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Consumer Price Index
CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.4 % IN JANUARY AS FOOD
AND FUEL PRICES RISE
The Statistical Institute of Belize’s latest statistics on consumer
prices showed that for December 2015, the All-Items Consumer
Price Index stood at 102.7, a decline of 0.7 percent from 103.5
recorded in December 2014. For the year 2015, the average
national inflation rate was negative 0.9 percent.
During the month of December 2015, the average price per
gallon of all three types of fuels remained lower than they were
in December 2014. The price of premium gasoline was down by
about 10 percent, while that of regular gasoline was 16 percent
lower. Diesel fuel was more than 24 percent lower than it was
in the same month of 2014. These decreases, combined with a
drop of more than one third in international airfares, resulted in an
overall decline of more than 8 percent in the “Transport” category
when compared to December 2014.
Food prices, on average, showed no change when compared
to December 2014. Although price increases were seen across
all types of meats, these were offset by lower prices for Red
Kidney Beans and various fresh vegetables, including carrots
Within the category of “Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and
Other Fuels” an increase of 2.2 percent in home rental prices
overshadowed a 20 percent decline in electricity rates and a
steep drop in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas. In the case
of the latter, the average price for a 100 pound cylinder fell from
$109.26 in December 2014 to $83.88 in December 2015, a
decline of 23 percent.
While most municipalities recorded decreases in consumer prices
during the month, Dangriga and Punta Gorda had inflation rates
of 2.7 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. Home rental prices
and food prices were among the highest in these areas. On the
other hand, the largest decline was recorded in Belmopan, which
had an inflation rate of negative 2.9 percent, largely due to lower
prices recorded for food and home rental costs.
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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)