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The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) invites you to its third press conference for 2022 to share its most recent statistics on the Belizean economy.

Statistical Institute of Belize Press Conference:

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Economy grows by 13.5 percent in the second quarter 2022, consumer prices up 7.4 percent, imports up 20.8%, and domestic exports down 44.5% in August 2022

Today, the Statistical Institute of Belize published its latest statistics on the consumer price index, external trade, and gross domestic product in the 2nd quarter of 2022.

Consumer Price Index

The most recent data from the Statistical Institute of Belize's monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) survey indicated that, for the month of August 2022, the All-items CPI, which summarizes price levels for all categories of consumer goods and services, stood at 112.2, an increase from the 104.5 recorded for August 2021. This indicates that the country experienced an overall national inflation rate of 7.4 percent on the cost of goods and services regularly purchased by Belizean households. The overall change in consumer prices was driven mainly by notable increases in prices for motor vehicle fuels, transportation services, food, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), restaurant services, cinema entrance fees, and household cleaning products.

The year-to-date inflation rate for the first eight months of 2022, when compared to the same period in 2021, stood at 6 percent. About one-half of this increase was directly attributable to the 'Transport' category, which had a year-to-date inflation rate of 19 percent, as significantly higher prices were seen across all types of motor vehicle fuels, as well as new motor vehicles, and passenger transport services.

Click the following link to read more:�Consumer Price Index, August 2022

Merchandise Trade

Belize's total imports for the month of August 2022 were valued at $230 million. This was a significant increase of 20.8 percent or $39.6 million from imports for August 2021, which totaled $190.4 million. Merchandise imports for the first eight months, January to August of 2022, amounted to $1.768 billion, representing a 34.8 percent or $456.3 million increase from the $1.312 billion imported during the same period last year.

Total domestic exports for the month of August 2022 amounted to $35.2 million, down by 44.5 percent or $28.3 million when compared to exports for August 2021, which were valued at $63.4 million. Notwithstanding the decline recorded for the month of August, merchandise exports for the eight-month period from January to August 2022 totaled $329.4 million, up 11.3 percent or $33.6 million from the same period last year, when imports were valued at $295.9 million.

Click the following link to read more: External Trade, August 2022

Gross Domestic Product

During the second quarter months of April to June 2022, the value of goods and services produced within Belize totaled $1.315 billion, according to the Statistical Institute of Belize's preliminary Gross Domestic Product estimates for this period. This represented an increase of 13.5 percent or $156.9 million, from $1.158 billion in the second quarter of 2021. Economic growth was driven mainly by strong performances in the tertiary sector industries during the quarter, most notably in 'Wholesale and Retail Trade', 'Hotels and Restaurants', and 'Transport', and modest growth in the secondary sector. Activities within the primary sector saw an overall decrease, while 'Taxes on Products' were up by 29.9 percent, from $139 million in the second quarter of 2021 to $180.6 million in the second quarter of 2022.

Click the following link to read more: Gross Domestic Product, 2nd Quarter 2022

GDP Growth Was Impressive

This morning, the Statistical Institute of Belize held its third press conference for the year 2022. The purpose was to update the public on key trends that have emerged in the performance of the country's economy for the months of April to June.

The GDP - or gross domestic product - is used as the main indicator to assess the health of an economy. And according to the SIB, there was a major 13.5% growth of GDP in the second quarter of this year when compared to the same time period last year.

For a closer look at how some of the nation's biggest industries performed for the second quarter, here's more from Statistician II Christopher Hulse:

Christopher Hulse - Statistician II
"Goods and services produced a total of 1.32 billion for the months of April to June. This is an increase of $156.9 million, or 13.5% growth when you compare that to the second quarter of 2021. If we look at the first six months of 2022 and compare that to the first six months of 2021, we see an 11% growth."

"Now, I said that the GDP is spread across the three sectors, and this is how those sectors contributed to that GDP. So the tertiary sector continues to be the largest part of our GDP or the biggest contributor. So if you see the tertiary sector here, it's basically around 60 to 62% of our GDP is from the services, right? Primary is 7.8%. The secondary is 16%, and the tax on the GDP is 13.7%."

"So, as I said in the previous slide, the primary contributed $101.3 million to the total GDP. This is a decline of $8.7 million compared to the second quarter and 2021, or a decline of 7.9%. The industries that make up the primary, which are agriculture, forestry, fishing, and mining, all saw decreases, with agriculture decreasing by 5.6% and mining by 20.5%."

"So we start with sugar cane. In 2021, for the second quarter, sugar cane production was at 937.2 thousand metric tons compared that to 2022. Quarter two: that is 793,000 metric tons. This is a decrease of 15.4%, and this is attributed to a lot of stand-over crops that is crops that remained in the field right there. The latest report I have shows about 100,000 tonnes were lost from January to where we are now."

"In the case of banana production, we saw an 11% decrease from 28.6 thousand metric tonnes produced in the second quarter of 2021 to 25.5 thousand metric tonnes produced in the second quarter of 2022. The reason for this crop timing there was a drastic increase in input costs, which is the fuel and the fertilizer. So the per acre yield was affected by that, and then they had a labor shortage in the field for harvest. So a lack of manpower."

"Now, moving on to livestock, we saw a small decrease of 3%, driven by cattle, which fell by 24.2%. But it was offset by pig growing by 11.9% and poultry by 14.5%. I'll now look at each livestock in the next couple of slides. All right. So starting with cattle, cattle again went down from 11.1 thousand heads in quarter two of 2021 to 8.4 thousand heads in part two of 2022."

Other outstanding statistics in the gross domestic product for the second quarter include beverages and rum. Soft drinks are up by 10%, while beer is up by 34%. Rum had the biggest increase at 191%.

Inflation at 6% So Far For 2022

The SIB also released its latest figures on the Consumer Price Index for the last eight months, from January to August.

The CPI is used to calculate the inflation rate, which is the percentage change in the prices between 2 specific periods. According to the SIB's assessment, the cumulative inflation rate for the first eight months of 2022 stood at 6% compared to the same period last year.

Here's how Statistician Melvin Perez made the point today that the high cost of fuel contributed significantly to that:

We turn now to the assessment of how the price of food regularly purchased by Belizean households continues to increase. Here are those figures from Melvin Perez:

According to the SIB, the Belizean municipality with the highest inflation rate was Orange Walk Town, at 8.7%. Conversely, Belmopan had the lowest rate at 4.8%, followed by San Pedro Town at 5.1% and Independence Village at 5.2%.

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