BELIZE CITY, Wed. Mar. 31, 2016–Belize’s exports, which fell by almost $80 million in 2015, continued to slide in the first two months of 2016, according to information just released by the Statistical Institute of Belize.
Tiffany Vasquez, Statistician II, reported on Belize’s external trade in merchandise at a press conference held today. She noted that in January and February of 2016, Belize exported goods totaling $52.5 million—a decrease of 37.9% or $32 million from the $84.5 million recorded for the same period last year. Exports of all of Belize’s major commodities fell in January and February, with sales to the US falling by $7 million and to the European Union by $15 million, while exports to CARICOM fell by $5 million. The US and the EU buy almost three-fourths of Belize’s exports.
“Marine sales suffered the sharpest drop from $22 million to $7 million, resulting in a loss in earnings of over two thirds compared to the same two months in 2015. Additionally, papayas, while having less of an impact on overall export earnings, recorded a sharp decline in sales for the first two months of the year,” a bulletin from the SIB said. (See accompanying graphic for more details on exports.)
Meanwhile, Belize imported goods with a total value of $229.3 million for the first two months of the year—a decrease of 4.8% or $15.2 million from the $314.5 million recorded for the same period last year.
For the month of February alone, Belize’s imports had an aggregate value of $168.3 million—a decrease of 2.6% or $4.6 million over February 2015, when imports totaled $172.9 million.
“Imports destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’, which fell sharply from $12 million to $4.5 million, were the primary contributors to the month’s decline. Reduced purchases of shrimp feed and machinery for preparing tobacco, for the most part, were responsible for this decline,” the SIB said.
Despite a slight increase in the quantity of premium fuel imported, Belize spent almost $6 million less, on ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, as fuel prices on the world market remained lower when compared to the same month of 2015, the SIB also explained.