Here are the Statistical Institute of Belize's most recent statistics:
- January to May 2017 External Trade
- January to May 2017 Consumer Price Index
- 1st Quarter 2017 GDP
- April 2017 Labour Force Survey Findings
Consumer Price Index
CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.7% IN MAY 2017
Latest statistics released by the Statistical Institute of Belize show that
the All-Items Consumer Price Index for the month of May 2017 stood
at 104.4, an increase from 103.7 in May of 2016. The prices of goods
and services regularly purchased by Belizean Households were,
on average, 0.7 percent higher in May 2017 than they were in the
same month of 2016 (see Figure 1), as higher prices for ‘Transport’-
related goods and services overshadowed decreases in various
other categories, including ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ and
‘Recreation and Culture’. For the first five months of 2017, a year-todate
inflation rate of 1.7 percent was recorded.
Prices within the ‘Transport’ category rose by 8.3 percent from May
2016 to May 2017 (see Figure 1), continuing their upward trend, albeit
at a slower rate than in previous months. International airfares were
significantly higher than they were in May of last year, although it
should be noted that some reduction in fares was recorded following
the spike experienced in late 2016 to early 2017. Bus fares were
almost 8 percent higher than they were in the same month last year,
reflecting the increase that took effect in October of 2016. Fuel and
lubricant prices for the month of May 2017 were up by 6.5 percent
from the same month in 2016, with the highest increase being seen
in the price per gallon of Premium gasoline, which rose by 18 percent
from $9.06 in May of last year to $10.72 in May 2017 (see Table 1).
Diesel prices increased by 16 percent from $8.19 to $9.47, while
Regular gasoline rose by 14 percent from $9.08 to $10.35.
‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ recorded an overall decrease
of 1.3 percent (see Figure 1) for the month. This was the cumulative
effect of relatively small decreases in prices for items such as eggs,
milk, breakfast cereals, beef products, chicken, onions, cabbages,
limes and potatoes (see Table 1)
The ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ category saw
an overall rise of 0.3 percent when compared to May of last year.
This was as a result of higher prices for Liquefied Petroleum Gas
(LPG), which overshadowed a slight decline in home rental prices.
The average cost of a 100-pound cylinder of LPG rose by 18 percent
from $83.90 in May 2016 to $98.83 in May 2017 (see Table 1).
On average, there was a 0.6 percent decline across ‘All Other
Categories of Goods and Services’. ‘Recreation and Culture’ was
down by 2.8 percent due to decreases in entrance fees to sporting
activities and night clubs, while smaller price reductions were seen
in women’s and children’s clothing, health insurance premiums,
and ‘Furnishing, Household Equipment, and Routine Household
Across the various municipalities, Dangriga recorded the highest
increase in consumer prices for the month with an inflation rate of 2.9
percent, as consumers in that municipality actually saw home rental
prices rise in comparison to May of 2016. Orange Walk Town, where
home rental costs fell by even more than the national average, was
the only municipality which saw prices decrease for the month, with
an inflation rate of negative 0.9 percent. (see Figure 3).
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS DOWN 4.8 %, DOMESTIC EXPORTS UP 28.9% IN MAY 2017
May 2017: For the month of May 2017, Belize imported goods
valuing $161.3 million. This represented a 4.2 percent or $7.1
million drop from the same month in 2016, when imports totalled
Decreases across various categories led to the overall reduction
in Belize’s import bill. However, ‘Machinery and Transport
Equipment’ saw the most considerable decline for the month,
falling by $11 million or 24 percent to $35 million, as the country
imported less telecommunication parts, sealing machines and
water pumps. A reduction in the quantities of Diesel, Regular and
Premium fuels purchased resulted in a $3.5 million drop in the
‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category. Dwindling wheat seed
imports drove the ‘Food and Live Animals’ category down by
more than $3 million from $23 million in May 2016 to $19.5 million
in May of 2017. Decreased purchases of pine lumber and natural
asphalt led to a $2 million decline in imports of ‘Crude Materials’
from $5 million to $3 million over the period. Of note, importation
of ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ for the month fell by $1.6 million,
from $4.4 million to $2.8 million, as the country purchased less
cigarettes and beer from abroad.
Notwithstanding these decreases, the month of May 2017 also
saw noteworthy increases across some categories. Imports
of goods to the ‘Commercial Free Zones’, which were meant
solely for re-exportation, rose by almost $4 million during the
month from $20.4 million to $24.3 million, due mostly to a spike
in purchases of cigarettes for re-export. While heightened
purchases of cement and metal roofing prompted a $3 million
growth in the ‘Manufactured Goods’ category from $18 million
in May of last year to $21 million in May 2017, lighting fixtures
and medical catheters led to an increase of $3 million in the
‘Other Manufactures’ category from $13.5 million to $16.5 million.
Importation of ‘Chemical Products’ went up from $15 million to
$17 million, as Belize bought more fertilizers than it did in May
2016, while increased shrimp feed imports resulted in a $1.5
million growth in the ‘Export Processing Zones’ category.
FIRST FIVE MONTHS OF THE YEAR:Merchandise imports
for the five months from January to May 2017 amounted $739.6
million, representing a 4.8 percent or $36.9 million decline from
the same period last year. Decreased purchases within the
categories of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, ‘Food and
Live Animals’ and ‘Export Processing Zones’, which fell by a
combined $69 million during the period, contributed greatly to
the overall decline in imports for the first five months of the year.
However, these were partially offset by increased spending on
‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, ‘Manufactured Goods’ and ‘Other
Manufactures’, which rose by a combined $34.5 million.
May 2017: The total value of Belize’s domestic exports for the month of May 2017 was $72.6 million, up 28.9 percent or $16.3 million from
the $56.3 million recorded for May 2016.
Sugar was the most dominant among the major exports during the month of May 2017, as revenues from that commodity contributed more
than a half of total export earnings. Furthermore, sugar revenues for the month grew by $11.3 million, from $26.4 million to $37.7 million.
The month of May was the first since the start of the year in which an increase in citrus exports was recorded. Earnings from this commodity
were up by $1 million from May 2016, as orange concentrate sales rose from $11 million to $12 million. Bananas and marine products, on
the other hand, each saw decreases in export returns for the period, with the former falling by $0.9 million from $7.8 million to $6.9 million,
while the latter dropped by a half from $1.2 million to $0.6 million.
Belize’s other exports, however, performed notably well during the month. Molasses sales, which were negligible in May of 2016,
surged to $3 million, and orange oil exports almost doubled from $1.4 million to $2.6 million, the result of favourable prices for that
The United Kingdom was the main recipient of Belize’s exports, with $33 million worth of goods or 45 percent of total exports being
destined for that nation. Exports to this country were up by $3 million over that of May 2016, as the month saw a spike in sugar
exports. Robust sales of sugar and orange concentrate also drove an almost $10 million rise in exports to the rest of the European
Union from $7.7 million to $17.5 million. A boost in sales of molasses to the United States of America led to a $1 million increase
in exports to that country, from $10 million during May of last year to $11 million in May 2017.
FIRST FIVE MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the period January to May 2017 totalled $237.6 million, up 21.8
percent or $42.6 million from the same period last year.
Sugar, which accounted for 40 percent of Belize’s exports for the first five months of the year, recorded earnings of $95 million for
the period January to May 2017, making that commodity the country’s most significant export earner. When compared to the five
months from January to May 2016, the first five months of 2017 boasted a substantial 58 percent or $35 million growth in sugar
Belize’s other major exports also had positive showings over the period. Banana earnings were up by almost a quarter, as exports
increased from $30 million in 2016 to $37 million in 2017. Improved sales of shrimp and lobster meat resulted in a modest $1.2
million growth in marine exports to almost $13 million over the period. Export revenues for crude petroleum rose significantly in
comparison to the same months in 2016 from $7.1 million to $11.4 million, although there was virtually no change in exported
volumes, as prices for that commodity remained more favourable than they were last year. Notwithstanding the surge in citrus
exports for the month of May, revenues from that commodity fell by $14 million over the first five months of the year, from $51
million in 2016 to $37 million in 2017, due to a drop in orange concentrate sales.
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Gross Domestic Produce 1st quarter 2017
ECONOMY GROWS 2.1% IN FIRST QUARTER 2017: PRIMARY AND TERTIARY ACTIVITIES UP,
SECONDARY ACTIVITIES DOWN.
Preliminary first quarter estimates by the Statistical Institute of Belize show
that, for the first three months of 2017, the country’s level of economic
activity increased by 2.1 percent when compared to the same period in
2016. The total value of goods and services produced in Belize was $748.2
million, up $15.4 million from $732.8 in the first quarter of 2016.
The primary sector experienced growth of 11.7
percent, as several major industries recorded increases in production
during this period. The banana industry grew by more than 34 percent,
this strong performance marking its recovery from the lingering effects
of Hurricane Earl and the closure of one of the major farms in late 2015.
Sugarcane deliveries also recorded an increase, as the industry continued
to expand into the western part of the country. Livestock production grew
during the quarter, with cattle seeing an increase of 70 percent while poultry
production rose by 12 percent. Marine production, though substantially
lower than 2015 levels, recorded an increase of 11.5 percent over the first
quarter of last year, as the shrimp industry made some small strides on its
road to recovery. Conversely, citrus production decreased significantly, with
citrus fruit deliveries down by approximately 14 percent due to aging fruit
trees, adverse weather conditions and the effects of citrus greening.
Despite an increase in ‘Construction’,
production within the secondary sector recorded an overall decline of 3.9
percent. Construction activities saw an increase of 8 percent, bolstered
by both ongoing works on municipal recreational parks and an upswing
in private construction. This was evidenced by an increase in the number
of building plans approved by the Central Building Authority, a rise in the
number of home improvement loans issued by financial institutions, and a
30 percent growth in the importation of cement during the quarter.
The tertiary sector grew by 2.4 percent during
the first quarter of 2017 when compared to the same period of 2016.
‘Government Services’ recorded an increase of 2.5 percent, while
‘Wholesale and Retail Trade’ was up by 0.8 percent. ‘Accommodation and
Food Services’ grew marginally by 0.1 percent, even as the number of
overnight visitors rose by 2.7 percent and cruise passengers increased by
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April 2017, Labor Force Survey
UNEMPLOYMENT RISES MARGINALLY TO 9% IN APRIL 2017 DESPITE 3,000 NEW JOBS
Unemployment Rate: Results from the Statistical Institute of
Belize’s most recent Labour Force Survey showed that the national
unemployment rate in April 2017 stood at 9 percent, a marginal
increase from 8 percent in April 2016, when the country recorded its
lowest unemployment rate in almost a decade. This rise in the rate of
unemployment recorded was notwithstanding the net addition of more
than 3,000 new jobs, as persons joined the labour force at a faster rate
than that at which new jobs were created.
Unemployment in the country’s rural areas rose by 1.7 percentage
points, from 7.6 percent in April 2016 to 9.3 percent in April 2017, while
the rate in the urban areas increased only slightly (see Figure 1). The
unemployment rate was higher in all districts than in the same month
of 2016 except for Cayo, where unemployment fell from 8 percent in
April 2016 to 7 percent in April 2017. The Stann Creek district recorded
the highest unemployment rate of 13.1 percent, while Toledo, where a
relatively large proportion of the labour force is engaged in subsistence
farming, retained the lowest rate of unemployment at 3.9 percent.
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.
Labour Force: As at April 2017, the number of persons in the labour
force was estimated to be 164,935, representing an increase of
5,286 persons since April 2016. The overwhelming majority of new
entrants into the labour force since April of last year, more than 4,500
persons, were males. The female workforce saw a net increase of only
762 persons, in stark contrast to April 2016, when the female labour
force expanded by about 2,400. A large proportion, about 43 percent,
of Belize’s labour force has only a primary level education, while 21
percent has completed up to the secondary school level. Only 18
percent of the country’s total labour force has a tertiary level education
and 16.5 percent has not completed even a primary school education.
Unemployed: Despite the overall gains in total jobs in April 2017, the
unemployed population grew by over 2,000 persons from 12,730 in
April of last year to 14,823, indicating that there were more persons
entering the workforce than there were available jobs. Women entering
the labour force were twice as likely to be unable to find a job, and
among the newly unemployed population 1,346 were females while
only 747 were males. This is particularly noteworthy, as men outnumber
women in the labour force by two to one. The largest increases in
jobless persons were seen in the Belize district, where the unemployed
population grew by more than 1,200, and the Corozal district, which
saw its unemployed population rise by over 600 persons. Cayo was the
only district that experienced a decline in the number of unemployed
persons. The majority of the unemployed reported that they were
interested in jobs in services and sales.
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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)