Preliminary estimates issued yesterday by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), shows an in-depth look at the Gross Domestic Product for the last quarter of 2016- that is from October to December. During this period figures show that Belize’s economy declined by 1.2 percent with primary and secondary activities down and tertiary activities slightly increasing.
The total value of goods and services produced in Belize during the fourth quarter declined by almost $8 million, from $675 million in 2015 to $667 million in 2016. Preliminary estimates indicate that for the entire year 2016 the country’s level of production was 0.8% lower than that of the previous year.
Looking at the primary sector which mainly includes the productive sector, it experienced a decline of 12.4 percent during the fourth quarter of 2016 when compared to the same period in 2015, as several major industries continued to record a downturn. Banana shipments dropped by 30 percent, from 22 thousand metric tons to 16 thousand metric tons, due to losses sustained during Hurricane Earl in August 2016. Marine exports fell by six percent from 1.55 million pounds to 1.46 million pounds, notwithstanding an improved performance by the shrimp industry, other marine exports were down during the quarter.
Similarly as in 2015, sugarcane deliveries started in December 2016, and production of over 145 thousand metric tons was recorded for that month. As a result, the industry saw an increase of 21 percent during the fourth quarter when compared to the same three months during 2015. Livestock production was also up, as both swine and cattle production recorded increases during the period.
As for the tertiary sector which mainly includes the tourism sector, it was the only area that recorded growth during the last quarter of 2016. This sector, which accounts for over a half of the country’s economic activity, grew by 0.8. Under the umbrella of tourism, “Accommodation and Food Services” recorded the highest increase of seven percent, when compared to the final quarter of 2015. The number of overnight visitors to the country increased by approximately three thousand persons while the total number of cruise passengers rose by almost 40 thousand persons.