Here are the Statistical Institute of Belize's most recent statistics:
- October 2019 Consumer Price Index
- October 2019 Merchandise Trade
- 3rd Quarter 2019 Gross Domestic Product
- Labor Force Survey - September 2019
Consumer Price Index
CONSUMER PRICES DOWN 0.1% IN OCTOBER 2019: EDUCATION AND FOOD UP; FUEL, RENT AND AIRFARE DOWN
ALL-ITEMS: For the month of October 2019, the Statistical Institute of Belize reported that there was very little change, overall, in the cost of goods and services which are regularly purchased by Belizean households, when compared to October 2018. This was due to higher prices for various food items, electricity tariffs and tertiary education fees being offset by lower prices for rent, fuel and international airfares. The All-Items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 105.28 for the month of October 2019, a very marginal decrease of 0.1 percent from 105.34 for the month of October 2018 (see Figure 1). The cumulative inflation rate for the first ten months in 2019, when compared to the same period in 2018, stood at 0.2 percent.
FOOD AND NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: The 'Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages' category saw an overall increase of 1.4 percent for the month of October 2019 when compared to October 2018 (see Figure 2). This upward change was due to significant increases in the prices of several fresh fruits and vegetables, including pineapples, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cabbages, onions and lettuce. Also contributing to the rise in this category were meat products, such as pork chops and pig tail, which also recorded higher prices during October 2019. The effect of these increases, however, was partly offset by decreased prices for other items such as ground beef, beef steak, whole chickens, red kidney beans, limes and watermelons (see Table 1).
TRANSPORT: Prices within the 'Transport' category saw an overall decrease of 2.7 percent, balancing out the increase recorded in 'Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages' and making this the main category exerting downward pressure on consumer prices for the month of October 2019 (see Figure 2). This decline was mainly due to lower prices in the 'Fuel and Lubricants' sub-category, as all fuel types recorded price decreases for the month of October 2019. At the pump, the average price per gallon of Premium gasoline went down by 9.6 percent from $11.83 in October 2018 to $10.70 in October 2019, Regular gasoline declined by 7.8 percent from $11.25 to $10.37, and the price per gallon of Diesel fell by 5.9 percent from $10.75 to $10.11 (see Table 1). Also contributing to the fall within the 'Transport' category were international airfares, which were 11.7 percent lower for the month of October 2019 than they were in October of 2018. Notwithstanding these decreases, the cost of maintenance and repairs to personal motor vehicles rose by 7 percent compared to the same month last year.
HOUSING, WATER, ELECTRICITY, GAS & OTHER FUELS: For the month of October 2019, prices for goods and services within the 'Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels' category were 0.8 percent lower than they were during October 2018. This was mainly as a result of a 1.1 percent decrease in average home rental costs, as lower prices where observed in the municipalities of Corozal Town, Belize City, Belmopan City, San Ignacio/Santa Elena and Dangriga Town. However, the effect of this decrease was partially offset by a 5.2 percent increase in electricity tariffs, the result of increased rates which took effect in early 2019. Additionally, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) prices were slightly higher than they were in October 2018, with the average cost of a 100-pound cylinder up by 0.8 percent, from $115.04 in October 2018 to $115.92 in October 2019 (See Table 1).
ALL OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES: Consumer prices across 'All Other Categories of Goods and Services' saw a 0.5 percent rise, on average, for the month of October 2019 when compared to October 2018 (see Figure 2). Increases in prices for men's and women's clothing, tertiary education tuition, motor vehicle insurance premiums and entrance fees to sporting events were the main contributors to the overall rise recorded for this group of categories during the month.
INFLATION RATES BY MUNICIPALITIES: With an inflation rate of 2.7 percent, Orange Walk Town experienced the highest rate of increase in consumer prices in October 2019. Consumers in this town saw above average increases in prices for food items, home rental costs, LPG, and men's and women's clothing. Meanwhile, the twin towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena experienced the lowest inflation rate, with prices going down by 1.9 percent, as consumers in these municipalities saw a larger than average reduction in home rental costs when compared to October 2018 (see Figure 3).
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External Trade Bulletin
IMPORTS DOWN 4%,
DOMESTIC EXPORTS DOWN 24.8% IN OCTOBER 2019
October 2019: For the month of October 2019, Belize imported goods valuing $185.2 million. This represented a
4 percent or $7.8 million decrease from the same month in 2018, when imports totalled just over
$193 million (see Figure 1).
Decreasing Categories: Imports of ‘Chemical Products’ fell by almost one-third from $20.9 million
in October 2018 to $14.2 million in October 2019, prompted by marked reductions in purchases of
fertilizers during the month. Decreased imports of cigarettes and women’s clothing led to a $5.1
million decline in goods destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’, from $35.8 million to $30.7
million. The ‘Food and Live Animals’ category also diminished by approximately $5 million, from
$22.9 million to $18 million, on account of smaller purchases of wheat seeds and lard (shortening).
Furthermore, as a result of a notable drop in imported quantities of regular gasoline, the ‘Mineral
Fuels and Lubricants’
category went down by
$3.5 million, from $29.9
million in October 2018 to
$26.4 million in October
2019. In addition, imports
into the ‘Designated
formerly the “Export
Processing Zones’, fell by
almost one-half or $1.9
million, from $3.9 million to
$2 million, as the country
imported less filtering
machinery, shrimp feed
and pressure tanks in the
month of October 2019
(see Figure 2).
Increasing Categories: Notwithstanding the overall decline, imports of ‘Machinery and Transport
Equipment’ rose substantially by $11 million in October of this year, from $34.3 million to $45.3
million, when compared to that same month last year. Goods such as computers, water filters and
aircraft engines, were among the most notable high-value purchases. In addition, with greater
imports of treated pine lumber, the category of ‘Crude Materials’ grew from $3 million in October
2018 to $4.9 million in October 2019, while larger imports of gold jewellery and wrist watches led
to a $1.1 million increase in the ‘Other Manufactures’ category, from $13.5 million to $14.6 million
(see Figure 2).
FIRST TEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise imports for the first ten months, January to
October 2019, amounted to $1.6 billion, representing a 2 percent or $31.4 million increase from
the same period last year.
Increasing Categories: Among the increased categories, there was
considerable growth in imports of ‘Manufactured Goods’, ‘Mineral
Fuels and Lubricants’, ‘Commercial Free Zones’, and ‘Crude Materials’,
when compared to the first ten months of 2018. The ‘Manufactured
Goods’ category rose by more than $14 million, from $204.2 million to
$218.5 million, as a result of heightened imports of metal structures,
ceramic tiles and vehicle tyres, while an increase in the quantities of
diesel and kerosene fuels imported led to a $13 million spike in the
‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category, from $233.7 million in 2018
to $246.7 million in 2019. Imports into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’
also went up notably, growing by $8.3 million from $261.6 million
to $269.9 million, owing mostly to bigger purchases of clothing and
tennis shoes. With boosted imports of treated pine lumber as well
as fruit seeds, the ‘Crude Materials’ category increased by almost
25 percent over the ten-month period, from $24.2 million in 2018 to
$30.2 million in 2019. Furthermore, as greater quantities of vegetable
cooking oils were brought into the country, the category of ‘Oils and
Fats’ rose by $2.2 million, from $14.4 million to $16.6 million, while
increased imports of lard (shortening) and powdered milk resulted in
the ‘Food and Live Animals’ category growing by $2.1 million, from
$185 million in 2018 to $187.1 million in 2019.
Decreasing Categories: Despite the increase in total imports, the
categories of ‘Other Manufactures’, ‘Designated Processing Areas’
and ‘Chemical Products’ all dropped markedly over the ten-month
period. Goods classified as ‘Other Manufactures’ went down by $6.1
million, from $126.3 million in 2018 to $120.2 million in 2019, due mostly
to fewer imports of surveying equipment, lamps and lighting fixtures.
Imports meant for the ‘Designated Processing Areas declined by $5.7
million, from $33.3 million to $27.6 million, on account of decreased
purchases of food processing machinery, filtering equipment and
shrimp feed. Additionally, imports of ‘Chemical Products’ shrank by
$3.1 million, from $149.5 million to $146.4 million over the period,
owing to reduced purchases of fertilizers and herbicides.
October 2019: Total domestic exports for October 2019 amounted
to $26.1 million, down 24.8 percent or $8.6 million when compared
to exports for October 2018, which were valued at $34.7 million (see
Decreasing Categories: Differences in the schedule for shipments
of crude petroleum between last year and this year were the main
cause of the substantial drop in total export earnings for the month.
While revenues from imports of this commodity amounted to $8.7
million in October of last year, there were no shipments recorded
during October 2019. Exports of bananas also declined during the
month, although only minimally, from $8.3 million in October 2018 to
$7.7 million in October 2019. However, earnings from other products,
saw more noteworthy decreases. Exports of sawn wood fell sharply
by $1.2 million, from $1.3 million to less than $0.07 million, while
revenues from animal feed dropped from $1.3 million to under $0.3
million (see Figure 3).
Increasing Categories: On the other hand, earnings from exports of
citrus, marine products, and sugar all increased during the month.
With greater exports of orange concentrate in October of this year
when compared to last October, revenues from citrus products went marine products rose by $1.1 million, from $5.8 million in October
2018 to $6.9 million in October 2019, due to better sales of conch
and lobster tails, while revenues from sugar exports increased slightly
during the month, growing from $2.2 million to $2.7 million (see Figure
Major Destinations: Owing mostly to the fact that no crude petroleum
was exported in October of this year, earnings from the CARICOM
market declined significantly by more than 50 percent or $7.9 million,
from $14.6 million in October 2018 to $6.7 million in October 2019.
However, with improved sales of both conch and lobster tails for the
month, revenues from the United States of America grew by $1.2
million, from $5.4 million to $6.6 million (see Figure 4).
FIRST TEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR: Merchandise exports for the
period January to October 2019 totalled $359.1 million, up 2.3 percent
or $7.9 million from the same period last year.
Increasing Categories: Exported quantities of sugar surged by 25.1
percent during the ten-month period, generating an increase of $22.9
million in earnings from this commodity, from $109.4 million in 2018
to $132.3 million in 2019. Revenues from exports of bananas rose
by nearly $4 million for ten-month period, from $61.3 million in 2018
to $65.3 million in 2019. Among the commodities classified as other
exports, earnings from red kidney beans grew from $7.9 million in
2018 to $11.6 million in 2019, while revenues from marine products
went up by $3.4 million, from $31.9 million to $35.3 million, due mainly
to favourable world market prices for lobster tails and conch.
Decreasing Categories: Conversely, significant decreases in
revenues from citrus and crude petroleum were recorded for the
period. Earnings from citrus products declined by 25.8 percent
or more than $17 million, falling from $67.3 million in 2018 to less
than $50 million in 2019, primarily due to reduced exports of orange
concentrate and orange oil. Due to variances in the schedule of crude
petroleum shipments, there were two shipments made during the first
ten months of 2019, compared to three shipments made during the
same time period in 2018. As a result, earnings from this commodity
fell steeply by 47.5 percent or $11.7 million, from $24.6 million in 2018
to $12.9 million in 2019.
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Gross Domestic Produce 3rd quarter 2019
ECONOMY GROWS 1.8% IN THIRD QUARTER 2019
Institute of Belize’s
that, for the period
July to September
2019, the country’s
total level of
grew by 1.8 percent
to the same three
months of 2018.
The total value of
goods and services
produced within Belize during this period was estimated at $663.1 million dollars, an
increase of $11.5 million from the $651.6 million produced in the third quarter of 2018
(see Figure 1).
experienced for the
third quarter was
due to increased
the secondary and
during the period.
The primary sector
declined by 4.3
percent, mainly due
to a drop in both
banana production and marine exports. Activities within the secondary sector grew by
4.5 percent, as manufacturing and electricity and water generation increased. Tertiary
activities rose by 1.9 percent, due to growth experienced in the wholesale and retail
trade, and transport industries (see Figure 2).
PRIMARY ACTIVITIES: The primary sector, which accounts for about one tenth of the
activity, declined by
4.3 percent when
compared to the
same period of last
year. Dry weather
resulting in a
decrease in output
from 25 thousand
metric tons in the
third quarter of 2018
to 22.9 thousand
metric tons in the third quarter of 2019 (see Figure 3). Despite a strong performance
in lobster tail and lobster meat exports, the fishing industry also
experienced a 37 percent decrease, as no conch was exported
during the quarter and shrimp exports dropped considerably by
76 percent. These reductions in banana and marine production
overshadowed growth recorded in the livestock, sugarcane and
citrus industries. The livestock industry recorded a marginal
0.5 percent increase for the quarter, with increased market
demand driving an 8.3 percent rise in poultry production and a
1.6 percent increase in pig production, while a combination of
dry weather conditions and a decrease in market prices led to
a 27.1 percent drop in cattle production. On the other hand, an
extended milling season lasting into the month of July of 2019
resulted in an additional 81.5 thousand metric tons of sugarcane
being delivered, compared to the third quarter of last year.
Furthermore, a late start to the harvesting period for the first crop
of oranges resulted in a slight 0.8 percent increase in citrus fruit
deliveries in the third quarter.
SECONDARY ACTIVITIES: The secondary sector, which accounts
for almost one fifth of the country’s economic activity, grew by
4.5 percent during the third quarter of 2019. Due to the additional
sugarcane deliveries during the period, the sugar industry saw
production totaling 9,080 metric tons, while no production was
recorded for the third quarter of 2018. The ‘Electricity and Water’
subsector recorded a 10.7 percent increase in total output (see
Figure 4). Prolonged dry weather conditions drove an increase
in the demand for water, resulting in a 9.1 percent rise in water
production, while electricity generation rose 11.9 percent due to increased production by non-hydroelectric power producers.
Despite the continued natural depletion of crude petroleum and
a 1.6 percent drop in flour production, the ‘Manufacturing and
Mining’ subsector experienced growth of 11 percent. Due to
a rise in citrus deliveries, an additional 14.8 thousand gallons
of orange concentrate was produced during the quarter, while
soft drink and beer production also recorded increases due to
a rise in market demand during the period. The ‘Construction’
subsector saw an 18.3 percent decline in production, as reflected
in a substantial drop in loans for construction for the third quarter
of the year.
TERTIARY ACTIVITIES: The tertiary sector, which accounts for
about a half of Belize’s total economy, grew by 1.9 percent
in comparison to the third quarter of 2018. ‘Wholesale and
Retail’ activities rose by 1.2 percent during the quarter, while
‘Government Services’ increased by 4.6 percent. The ‘Transport,
Storage and Communication’ subsector also expanded by 4.2
percent, mainly due to a 2.7 percent rise in freight shipping. On
the other hand, the ‘Hotels and Restaurants’ subsector decreased
by 11.1 percent in the third quarter. Tourist arrivals were down
as the total number of overnight visitors to the country fell from
102,599 persons in the third quarter of 2018 to 98,605 persons
in the same period of 2019, while cruise ship arrivals were down
by 20.7 percent from 240,484 to 190,610. These reductions in
the number of visitors corresponded to a 6.2 percent fall in hotel
revenues as well as 13 fewer cruise ship calls during this period
(see Figure 5).
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September 2019, Labor Force Survey
DESPITE 5,600+ NEW JOBS, UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
INCREASES TO 10.4% IN SEPTEMBER 2019
Unemployment: The level of joblessness in the country increased by 2.7 percentage points
to 10.4 percent between the April and September 2019 rounds of the Labour Force Survey. This
was primarily due to more persons, especially women, entering the labour force than there were
new jobs available. Overall, the number of unemployed persons rose by 6,191 persons, from
13,658 in April to 19,849 in September. Of these, almost three-quarters or 4,554 were females.
Following record low estimated unemployment levels in April 2019, the unemployment rate
in the country’s urban
areas went up from 8.0
percent to 10.5 percent in
September 2019, while the
level of joblessness in rural
areas increased from 7.4
percent to 10.3 percent.
Between the sexes, males
experienced an increase
in unemployment from 5.2
percent in April 2019 to 6.6
percent in September of this
year, while unemployment
among females increased
from 11.2 percent to 15.7
Across the districts, all except Cayo and Toledo experienced increases in the level of
joblessness between the two periods. The Belize district registered the highest unemployment
rate for September 2019 as well as the sharpest increase, as joblessness almost doubled
from 6.8 percent to 12.5 percent (see Figure 1). In contrast, The Toledo district, where many
households continue to rely on subsistence farming for a living, registered the lowest levels of
unemployment for the September LFS round, with joblessness decreasing from 6.0 percent in
April 2019 to 5.4 percent in September 2019.
Labour Force: As of September 2019, the national labour force was estimated at 190,307,
a net increase of 11,808 persons across the country since April 2019. Most of the new entrants
were females, with 8,583 joining the work force over the five-month period. As a result, women
comprised about 42 percent of the labour force in September 2019, up from 40 percent in April.
The largest number of new entrants, a total of 4,961, came from the Cayo district, followed
by 3,490 from the Toledo district. Nonetheless, the Belize district continues to account for the
largest share of persons
in the labour force at
33.3 percent. In terms of
about 44 percent of
persons in the labour
force had completed no
more than a primary level
education, while just under
one-fourth had attained a
secondary level education
and about 17 percent had
completed tertiary level
About 70 percent of the working age population, persons aged 14
and older, participated in the work force in September 2019. Labour
force participation among women saw a marked increase from
53.1 percent in April to 58.9 percent in September of this year. Men
continued to have higher levels of participation, as 81.4 percent
of working aged males were participants in the labour force. The
highest participation rates were observed among persons aged 35
to 44 years at 87.1 percent. Males in this age group were almost fully
engaged in the labour force, participating at a rate of 98.9 percent,
while this age group also had the highest female participation rate
at 75.6 percent.
Employment: Approximately 170,458 persons held jobs in
September 2019, which represents a net increase of 5,617 persons
being employed since April 2019. Both sexes benefited from jobs
created over the period, with 1,588 more men becoming employed
and 4,029 more women obtaining jobs. Among the employed
population, the largest share (27.6 percent) was comprised of
persons who were between the ages of 25 to 34 years, closely
followed by persons aged 35 to 44 years, which made up 23.2
percent of all employed persons.
Among the ten major occupation classifications, the largest gains
in employment were seen in ‘Services and Sales Workers’ and
‘Elementary Occupations’, with these two categories combined
accounting for a half of all jobs in the country. Most new jobs
were found in the Cayo district, particularly in the ‘Wholesale and
Retail Trade’ and ‘Tourism’ industries. These two industries also
contributed the largest numbers to total employment within the
country, with 18.3 percent of all jobs being in ‘Wholesale and Retail
Trade’ and 17.2 percent being provided by the ‘Tourism’ industry
(see Figure 3).
Paid employees accounted for 62 percent of all employed persons
in September of 2019, down from 67 percent in April, while the
shares comprised of self-employed and unpaid family workers
both increased (Table 1). This indicates that a significant number
of persons in the labour force have created employment for
themselves in areas such as ‘Services and Sales’, ‘Elementary
Occupations’, and ‘Agricultural and Related Activities’ by opening
their own businesses.
The median monthly income for September 2019 was $1,134, a
decrease of $110 since April 2019, as there were fewer jobs in the
higher paid categories such as ‘Managers’ and ‘Professionals’,
and more jobs created in the ‘Skilled Agriculture Workers’ and
‘Elementary occupations’ categories. The highest paid jobs were
observed in the ‘Government Services’ industry, which provides
jobs to 9.4 percent of all employed persons and had a median
income of $1,681 monthly.
Underemployed: The total number of underemployed persons,
those usually working less than 35 hours per week, was 38,769
in September 2019, a sharp increase of more than 13,000
persons since April 2019. The most significant increases in
underemployment were seen among females with jobs in ‘Services
and Sales’, ‘Elementary Occupations’, and ‘Agriculture Workers’.
Females continued to be twice as likely to be working less than
full time hours, with 33 percent of working women classified
as underemployed, compared to 16 percent among their male
counterparts. Across the districts, Toledo showed the highest levels
of underemployment at 36.7 percent of the employed population,
while Stann Creek district registered the lowest at 13.8 percent. In
September 2019, underemployed persons worked an average of
17 hours weekly and had a median monthly income of $620.
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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)