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GDP Growth is 8.7 Percent Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00

According to initial estimates from the Statistical Institute of Belize, the economy of Belize grew by 8.7 percent in the second quarter of 2014, April to June. This is a significant recovery from a disappointing first quarter which saw the economy contracted by 0.4 percent. The cumulative economic growth for 2014 now stands at 3.7 percent and the expansion is due in large part to the performance of the agriculture, manufacturing, electricity and water, hotels and restaurants, and construction sectors.

From April to June of 2014, the agriculture sector grew by 26 percent. Sugarcane deliveries rose by 80 percent and citrus rose by 68 percent when compared to the same time last year. Jefte Ochaeta, Statistician of SIB, says the huge second quarter growth in the sector is because of late starts to the crop year. There were disagreements between farmers and production companies in the sugarcane and citrus industries. Those disagreements resulted in late starts to the crop year and poor first quarter outputs. However, it also led to better than normal second quarter outputs as deliveries peaked later than is usually the case. The increase in deliveries resulted in an increase in manufacturing as sugar production increased by 68 percent and orange concentrate rose by 58 percent.

The second quarter growth was also aided by a 43 percent increase in electricty production, thanks to favourable weather conditions for hydroelectricity generation. An increase in cruise and overnight tourist arrivals resulted in a 22 percent growth in the accomodation sector. Crop production and livestock trade increased by 23 percent. There was a 7 percent increase in the construction sector due to ongoing municpal and rural infrastructure projects. There were also growth in beer manufacturing due to higher domestic demand and rum production due to greater export numbers.

Second quarter figures were not all positive. Crude oil production continues to fall rapidly due to the depletion of reserves at Spanish Lookout. Banana production decreased marginally because of periodic cold fronts between November 2013 and March 2014. Soft drink production fell as the company went through an equipment upgrade phase. There were also negative growths in the fishing sector and Government services.

Ochaeta says the Institute has also completed its revision of the 2013 annual GDP estimates. Now that additional data has become available, SIB has adjusted the 2013 GDP growth from 0.8 percent to 1.5 percent.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 15:30