BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 25, 2020– The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) reported that Belize’s imports for May 2020 saw a dramatic decrease of $67.3 million, down 39.7% from the $169.4 million worth of goods we imported in May 2019. The SIB attributes most of this decrease to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in an economic slowdown.
“Imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ dropped substantially by 47 percent or $16 million, from almost $34 million in May 2019 to approximately $18 million in May 2020, as the country purchased less vehicles, parts for food processing machinery and telecommunications equipment… ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ plunged by 59 percent or $13.7 million for the month, from $23.3 million in May of last year to $9.6 million in May of this year…,” stated the SIB report.
The report further stated, “…the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ went down by 41 percent or more than $10 million, from $24.9 million to $14.8 million, as there were smaller imports of tennis shoes, beer and cigarettes during the month…With decreased purchases of corn seeds, coffee and a variety of grocery items, the ‘Food and Live Animals’ category dropped $7.2 million or 29 percent, from $25.1 million in May 2019 to $17.9 million in May 2020.”
Additionally, according to the report, the ‘Manufactured Goods’ category “shrank by $6.2 million or 28 percent, from $22.6 million in May 2019 to $16.4 million in May 2020, owing to reduced purchases across a number of items, including carton boxes, corrugated steel rods and galvanized coils…the ‘Chemical Products’ category declined by $4.9 million or 30%, from $16.6 million to $11.7 million, because of smaller amounts of fertilizers, fungicides and medical supplies.”
Imports in the ‘Other Manufactures’ category “went down by $4.2 million or 42 percent, from $10.1 million in May 2019 to $5.9 million in May 2020, due to decreased purchases of goods such as metal structures, plastic covers and smart cards…With reduced imports of treated pine lumber, wooden poles and used clothing, the ‘Crude Materials’ category fell steeply by $3.5 million or 83 percent, from $4.2 million in May of last year to a mere $0.7 million in May of this year…Imports of hard liquor, cigarettes and wines declined during the month and, as result, the ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ category fell from $3.4 million in May 2019 to $2.3 million in May 2020,” the SIB report further outlined.
Imports from Jan-May 2020 down 10.6% from Jan-May 2019
The SIB says “merchandise imports for the first five months, January to May 2020, amounted to almost $690 million, representing a 10.6 percent or $81.8 million decrease from the same period last year,” with the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category dropping “more than 30 percent or $36.7 million, from $119.9 million in 2019 to $83.2 million in 2020” due mainly to decreased “world market prices for fuel, coupled with the fact that the country imported smaller quantities of major fuels over the period. “
In regards to specific categories of imports within which there were drastic decreases over the 5-month period, the SIB report stated, “Reduced imports of dielectric transformers, telecommunications equipment and vehicles led to an almost $15 million drop in the ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ category, which went down from $155.3 million in 2019 to $140.3 million in 2020…The ‘Manufactured Goods’ category fell by almost $10 million, from $108.5 million to $98.5 million, due to a notable reduction in purchases of corrugated steel bars, cement and glass bottles during the first five months of this year.
“Imports into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ diminished by more than $9 million, from a little over $115 million in 2019 to $105.4 million in 2020, owing to reduced purchases of clothing over the period…As the country bought fewer books and articles made of plastics compared to the first five months of the previous year, ‘Other Manufactures’ dropped by $6.8 million, from $54.3 million to $47.5 million.
“Decreased imports of pine lumber, wooden poles and used clothing over the period resulted in a 41 percent or $5.9 million decline in the ‘Crude Materials’ category, from $14.4 million in 2019 to $8.5 million in 2020….The ‘Chemical Products’ category went down $1.7 million, from $69.8 million to $68.1 million, on account of reduced imports of fertilizers, pipes and hoses.”
The report did note, though, that were increased imports of certain categories of goods over the January-May period. Referring to those categories of goods, the report stated, “Owing to increased imports of beer and aromatic bitters, the ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ category rose by $3.1 million or 20 percent, from $15.1 million in the first five months of 2019 to $18.2 million in the same period of 2020 (and) boosted imports of cooking oils such as olive oil over the period drove the ‘Oils and Fats’ category up from $8.3 million or 34 percent in 2019 to $11.2 million in 2020.” (SIB)
Domestic exports for May 2020 down 0.8% compared to May 2019
Domestic exports for May 2020 “amounted to almost $37 million, down by a negligible 0.8 percent or $0.3 million when compared to exports for May 2019.”
Referring to categories of produce that yielded higher export revenue than was earned in May last year, the report said, “Despite a drop in exported quantities of sugar, revenues from this commodity rose by $1.7 million from $15.9 million to $17.6 million, as prices for this product, particularly on the European market, were better than they were in May 2019. Earnings from citrus products increased from nearly $4 million to $5.6 million, due mainly to greater exports of grapefruit concentrate, orange concentrate and orange oil, while revenues from bananas went up from $6.6 million in May 2019 to a little over $7 million in May 2020.”
The report stated, however, that “Earnings from marine exports fell sharply by $1.6 million, from $1.7 million to just $0.1 million, as May of this year saw no exports of conch and significantly diminished sales of shrimp when compared to exports of last May…Earnings from animal feed dropped from $1.4 million in May 2019 to $0.8 million in May 2020, while there were no exports of sawn wood for the month, compared to $0.7 million in earnings from that commodity in May of last year.” (SIB)
Merchandize exports Jan-May 2020 down 16% compared to Jan-May 2019
Belize’s merchandize exports for Jan-May 2020 “totaled $149.3 million, down 16 percent or $28.4 million from the same period last year.”
The SIB report stated, “Revenues from bananas rose by $1.3 million, from $35.1 million in 2019 to $36.4 million in 2020…Revenues from red kidney beans went up by $5.5 million or 118 percent, from $4.6 million in 2019 to $10.1 million in 2020, while earnings from molasses rose by $1.6 million or 61 percent, from $2.6 million to $4.2 million.”
The report noted, however, that “Sugar experienced the most significant drop, with earnings falling by more than $14 million, from almost $61 million in 2019 to $46.2 million in 2020, while smaller exports of orange concentrate and orange oil drove revenues from citrus products down by $7.5 million, from $29.1 million to $21.6 million. Since no exports of crude petroleum have been recorded since the start of 2020, earnings from this commodity were down by $6 million for the first five months of the year. With the country exporting less conch during the first five months of this year, revenues from marine products decreased by $1.5 million, from $13.7 million to $12.2 million…earnings from animal feed dropped by $3.2 million, from $7.8 million in 2019 to $4.6 million in 2020.” (SIB)