BELIZE CITY–Belize’s economy declined marginally by 0.4% for the first quarter of 2014, but the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) reported an upturn in economic growth for second quarter by 8.7%, bringing the total growth estimate for the first half of 2014 to 3.7%.
The news was announced at a press conference held at the Central Bank of Belize this morning, and while the SIB official presenting the data, Jefte Ochaeta, Statistician II, said that he did not have information on what this growth means in dollars and cents, he did indicate to us that the growth in the primary industries, agriculture, forestry and fishing, up by 13.2%, represented a $13.9 million increase in production.
Meanwhile, the 20.4% growth in secondary industries: manufacturing and mining, and electricity and water, represented a $22.1 million growth in production, while growth in the tertiary industries, the services sector, recorded at 2.6%, represents an increase of $9.4 million in production.
The high level of economic growth, said Ochaeta, was primarily due to a boost in sugar and citrus production.
In a news release, the SIB noted that, “After two consecutive quarters of negative growth, agriculture rebounded by 26 percent, as two of the three major crops recorded considerable increases. Sugarcane deliveries rose by 80 percent compared to the second quarter of 2013 while citrus, specifically oranges, went up by 68 percent.”
Meanwhile, banana production was down marginally, as periodic cold fronts between November of last year and March of this year slowed the growth of this fruit, the SIB said.
Between January and July, Belize imported goods totaling $1.14 billion but export revenues totaled $390.3 million, a decrease of $55.4 million or 12.4% compared to 2013.
Inflation for July 2014 was 1.3 percent, unchanged from the previous month, according to the SIB, which indicated that Belize’s inflation is the lowest in Central America.