The Statistical Institute of Belize indicates that the economy performed much stronger in the second quarter of the year with an 8.7 growth. This, coupled with the less rapid economic expansion of the first quarter of this year resulted in growth of 3.7 percent for the first six months of 2014 says the SIB report. This is being attributed to higher levels of production for the period from April to June of this year across most of the major economic sectors, including Agriculture, Electricity and Water, Manufacturing, and Hotels and Restaurants.
And while the SIB reports a growth in the economy, it pointed out that inflation holds steady at 1.3 percent in July. This did not change from the previous month. The SIB states that the average rate of inflation from January to July 2014 is1.5 %. Higher prices were recorded in the categories of ‘Transport’ and ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’. For the first time in three years, the ‘Food’ index fell marginally in July, with lower prices across most food categories. With an inflation rate of 2.5 percent, Santa Elena/San Ignacio recorded the greatest change in the consumer price index. Belize City and Punta Gorda had the lowest, with inflation rates below one percent in both of these municipalities.
In the area of External Trade, Belize’s total imports were valued at $184.9 million in July of 2014. This was up 7.5 percent or 12.9 million from the $172.1 million worth of goods imported in July of 2013. In the report SIB says this was primarily due to higher purchases of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, ‘Other Manufactured Goods’ and ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’. During the first seven months of this year Belize imported goods totaling $1.1 billion, 6.4 percent or $68.4 million more than the same period of 2013.
Taking a look at exports, domestic exports earning for July decreased. This year it summed up to $51.7 million, down by 13 percent or $8 million from $59.7 million in last July. The sale of Orange concentrate was the only export that showed a sizeable increase of $10 million. The most significant drop was recorded for sugar, which plummeted almost 80 percent from $14 million to $3 million. Exports of bananas and marine products were down by $2.5 million and $2 million, respectively, while crude oil earnings declined marginally. The SIB report adds that from January to July of 2014 export receipts declined by $55.4 million or 12.4 percent to $390.3 million compared to the same period of 2013. All major exports were down for this period except for marine products, earnings from which were boosted by the resurgence of the shrimp industry.
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