Here are the Statistical Institute of Belize's most recent statistics:
- October External Trade Statistics
- October Consumer Price Index Statistics
- Third Quarter Gross Domestic Product
- Business Establishment Survey Results
- September 2016, Labor Force Survey Results
Consumer Price Index
CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.7% IN OCTOBER 2016
During the month of October 2016, the prices of goods and services
purchased by Belizean households were, on average, 0.7 percent higher
than they were in October 2015. The All- Items consumer price index
stood at 103.6, an increase from 102.9 in last October. For the first ten
months of 2016, an inflation rate of 0.6 percent was recorded.
After trending downward for several months earlier in the year, higher
prices in the sub-category of ‘Fuel’ continued to drive the Transport index
gradually upward. On average, Diesel prices increased by 21 percent
from $7.05 in October 2015 to $8.53 in October 2016, while Regular
gasoline prices rose by 13 percent from $8.25 in October 2015 to $9.32
in October 2016. For the second month in a row, a 26 percent decline in
international airfares was not sufficient to offset the rising cost of fuels.
As a result, the ‘Transport’ index recorded its second increase since the
start of the year, up by 1.3 percent in comparison to October of last year.
Within the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category, ‘Food’ prices
were down by 0.2 percent in comparison to October 2015. This was
mainly due to lower prices in ‘Meats’ and ‘Milk, Cheese and Eggs’. The
average price per pound of ground beef decreased by 4.6 percent, while
the price per dozen eggs fell by 11.7 percent. However, prices for fruits
and vegetables both saw increases on average during the month, as a
result of Hurricane Earl in early August of this year. The price per unit of
plantains and limes rose by 9.5 and 27 percent, respectively, while that
of tomatoes also increased from $2.39 per pound in October 2015 to
$2.78 in October 2016.
For the month of October 2016, the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas
and Other Fuels’category again recorded a slight overall increase of
0.3 percent. Home rental prices, the most significant component of this
category, were 0.6 percent higher than in the same month of 2015, while
the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) recorded a 2.8 percent
increase. Electricity tariffs, on the other hand, remained lower than they
were during this same period last year.
On average, prices rose by 1 percent across ‘All other categories of
goods and services’. This was mainly due to an increase in health
services, specifically ‘Out-patient services’ which recorded a 4.8 percent
increase for this month.
All municipalities recorded higher consumer prices for the month, with the
exception of Dangriga and Punta Gorda Town, the only two municipalities
reporting overall decreases in the Transport index. Corozal Town once
again had the highest increase in home rental prices at 9 percent and,
as a result, reported the highest inflation rate of 2 percent for the month
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS DOWN 17%, EXPORTS DOWN 43%
October 2016: Belize’s total imports for the month of October 2016
were valued at $152.8 million. This was a decrease of 17.1 percent or
$31.4 million from imports for October 2015, which totaled $184.2 million.
Imports were down across almost all major categories, with goods
destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’ recording the steepest drop,
from $13.8 million in October 2015 to $2.6 million in October of this year.
Decreased purchases of turbines, gaming equipment, telecommunications
equipment, and structures made of iron or steel were among the items that
saw the greatest decline. The ‘Commercial Free Zones’ category fell by
over $4.3 million for the month, owing to minimized importation of textile
material, tennis shoes, cigarettes and clothing. While less imports of lard
(shortening) and milk and cream resulted in a $3.7 million decrease in the
‘Food and Live Animals’ category, reduced beer, cigarettes, brandy and
whiskey purchases were the leading cause of a $3.4 million wane in the
‘Beverages and Tobacco’ category.
The category of ‘Chemical Products’ saw imports reduced by almost $3
million, while ‘Manufactured Goods’ declined by $2 million, as Belize
imported less fertilizers and carton boxes in the month of October 2016.
Also, due to the fact that no premium fuel was imported during the month,
the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category saw a reduction of $1.6
million. A similar decrease in the ‘Oils and Fats’ category was driven by
a significant drop in soy bean oil imports. ‘The Machinery and Transport
Equipment’ category fell by a negligible $1 million, with portable-radio
telephones being among the items recording reduced purchases.
FIRST TEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR:Merchandise imports for the ten
months from January to October 2016 totaled $1.6 billion, representing
a 3.9 percent or $65.3 million decrease from the same period last year.
The ‘Export Processing Zones’ remained the single greatest cause of
Belize’s declining imports over this period. Items destined for the ‘Export
Processing Zones’ fell by $61 million over the ten months, from $101
million in 2015 to $40 million in 2016, with the fall in shrimp feed imports
accounting for a considerable portion of that drop. Furthermore, although
the combined quantities of diesel, regular and premium fuels declined by
only 5 percent, lower international fuel prices resulted in $39 million less
being spent on ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’. The categories of ‘Chemical
Products’, ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and ‘Manufactured Goods’ together
saw a $42 million decline in imports. ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’,
on the other hand, grew by $53 million due largely to increased purchases
of telecommunication parts and four cylinder and diesel vehicles, while
imports of ‘Other Manufactures’ and ‘Food and Live Animals’ went up by a
combined $27 million over the period.
OCTOBER 2016: Total domestic exports for October 2016 amounted to
$21.7 million, down 43 percent or $16.3 million when compared to exports
for the month of October 2015.
Crude petroleum was the only major export to have performed more
favorably during the month, with a $1 million growth, from $4.6 million in October of 2015 to $5.6 million in October 2016. The citrus category declined
somewhat, as orange concentrate sales dropped by over $1 million. However this was partially offset by grapefruit concentrate exports, which almost doubled
for the month. Shrimp exports remained weak, causing sales of marine products abroad to diminish from $7 million to $4.1 million, and the banana industry
saw a reduction in exports from $8 million to $4.2 million during the month. Sugar, one of the country’s five major exports, reported no sales for October 2016,
although $7.6 million of this commodity was exported in the same month of 2015.
FIRST TEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the first ten months of 2016 totaled $364.3 million, down 23.8 percent or $114.1 million from
the same period last year.
Export earnings contracted for all major commodities, with the exception of citrus, which grew slightly by 2.9 percent or $2.3 million over the ten month period.
Marine exports fell sharply by $49 million, a 62 percent plunge from the $79 million recorded for January to October of 2015. While banana receipts shrank
by almost one third, from $85.7 million in 2015 to $60 million in 2016, crude petroleum experienced a similar drop, from $32.3 million to $22.5 million. Sugar,
Belize’s strongest export earner, reported earnings of $102.5 million for the period January to October 2016, a 15.1 percent reduction in export returns. This
decline, despite a marked increase of almost 10 percent in exported volume, was a clear indication of lower prices for sugar on the European market.
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Gross Domestic Produce 3rd quarter 2016
BELIZEAN ECONOMY DECLINES 0.8% IN THIRD QUARTER:
PRIMARY ACTIVITIES DOWN, SECONDARY AND TERTIARY ACTIVITIES UP.
The Statistical Institute of Belize’s preliminary Gross Domestic
Product estimates for the third quarter of 2016 showed that,
during the three months from July to September the country’s
total production declined by 0.8 percent when compared to the
same period in 2015. The total value of goods and services
produced in Belize was $655 million, down almost $6 million
from $661 million in the third quarter of 2015. For the first nine
months of the year, the country’s level of production was 0.7%
lower than in the first nine months of 2015.
The primary sector experienced a decline of 24 percent during
the third quarter, when compared to the same period last year,
with downturns recorded for several major industries. Marine
exports fell by 61 percent, as the shrimp industry continued to
struggle towards recovery. Banana shipments dropped by 14
percent, from 28 thousand metric tons to 24 metric tons, due
to the closure of one of the major banana farms and the effects
of Hurricane Earl. The only significant growth within this sector
was observed in livestock production, which rose by 7 percent
as poultry, swine and cattle production all recorded increases in
The tertiary sector, which accounts for over a half of the country’s
economic activities, grew by 1.9 percent during the third quarter
of 2016. “Accommodation and Food Services” recorded an
increase of 10.1 percent as a result of approximately 12,000 more
overnight visitors to the country over the period. “Government
Services” also recorded an increase of 4.4 percent. On the
contrary, the “Wholesale and Retail Trade” sector recorded a
marginal decline of 0.1 percent as imports decreased by 0.4
percent for the three month period.
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September 2016, Labor Force Survey
UNEMPLOYMENT RISES TO 11.1% IN SEPTEMBER 2016: 2,000 ADDITIONAL UNEMPLOYED
Preliminary results of the Statistical Institute of Belize’s most
recent Labour Force Survey show that, in September 2016
there were a total of 17,952 unemployed persons in Belize. This
represented an increase of 2,045 in the number of unemployed
persons since September of 2015, despite the addition of over
3,800 new jobs during the period, and was the result of an influx
of persons into the labour force at a faster rate than that at which
new jobs were created. As a result, the national unemployment
rate rose by almost 1 percentage point from 10.2 percent in
September 2015 to 11.1 percent in September of 2016.
As of September 2016, the country’s Labour Force stood at
162,254, up significantly from 156,383 in September of 2015, with
over 5,800 additional persons joining the workforce. While both
males and females contributed to this rise in the national Labour
Force, about three times as many females as males entered the
workforce between September 2015 and September 2016. The
female Labour Force rose by more than 4,500, with most of this
increase occurring in urban areas, while the male workforce grew
by just over 1,300, much of which took place in rural parts of the
The number of employed persons was also up, rising from 140,475
in September of last year to 144,302 in September 2016, as
approximately 3,800 more persons were found to be working. All
districts saw increases in the number of persons with jobs, except
for the Belize and Stann Creek districts, which both experienced
net losses of more than 1,000 jobs since last September. The
Cayo district recorded the most gains in employment over the
period, adding over 2,200 more jobs, a considerable portion of
which was attributable to an increase in employment among
persons from rural areas. Of all new jobs added during the period,
almost 2,600 or two thirds went to females.
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Business Establishment Survey
SIB PUBLISHES FINDINGS OF FIRST
BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT SURVEY
Based on the results of the BES, it was estimated
that in 2016 there were approximately 7,975 active businesses
operating within the country of Belize, of which one half were
located in the Belize and Cayo districts. Wholesale and Retail
Trade was the dominant economic activity, with two fifths of
all business establishments reporting that they were engaged
in these forms of trading activities. Within this broad category,
about one tenth of all businesses were engaged primarily in the
wholesale of food, beverages, and tobacco.
Only about one percent of the businesses sampled had recently
started operating, that is, sometime between 2015 and 2016.
One third of all establishments had been operating between 2 to
5 years at the time of the survey, while about 44 percent had been
in operation for more than ten years. An estimated 8 percent of
all businesses reported some degree of foreign ownership, with
the vast majority of these being located in the Belize district.
More than three quarters of all establishments were owned by
sole proprietors, while 18 percent were classified as incorporated
Of all the businesses that reported revenues in excess of
$500,000, one quarter were a part of the Wholesale and Retail
Trade sector. Another 21 percent of these establishments
earning more than half a million dollars per year formed a part of
the Accommodation and Food sector, which includes the tourism
Almost one fourth of all business that had more than 50 employees
fell within the Accommodation and Food sector. However, about half of the total establishments within this sector, or almost 1,300 businesses, operated on a much smaller scale, employing between two
and five persons. In the Transportation sector, four of every five establishments reported that they employed 20 or fewer workers, while
within Construction, about 25 percent had more than 20 employees.
Approximately one fifth of all businesses in the country of Belize can be classified as Small Businesses, as per the nationally accepted
definition of Medium, Small and Micro Establishments. Only 13 percent could be categorized as either Medium or Large Businesses, and
these were located primarily in the Cayo and Belize districts. The vast majority of establishments located in the north and south of the
country were considered Micro enterprises, with as much as 85 percent of businesses in the Corozal and Toledo districts falling within this
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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)