Tuesday, June 25, 2024

SIB says Belize’s economy grew by 3.2% in 2023; imports continue increasing

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The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) reported on March 28th that the country’s economy grew by 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2023. The report also showed an incidence of multidimensional poverty down to 10.1% in September of that same year. However, there was an increase in consumer prices and imports during the same period.
The report of the first two months of 2024 showed a decline in domestic exports in February 2024. But the good news was in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The SIB’s preliminary GDP estimates for the fourth quarter months of October to December 2023 totalled $1.355 billion. According to SIB, this is an increase of 3.2% of $41.4 million from $1.14 billion for the same period in 2022.
SIB Statistician Ronald Orellana provided this information at a press conference. He also touched on consumer pricing, which increased by 3.9%. Orellana’s presentations added that there was an increase in imports of 13.7% during the same fourth quarter of last year. Meanwhile, in February of 2024, there was a decrease of 8.1% in exports.
Orellana told the media what caused the fluctuation. “The total imports for the year amounted to $499.8 million, an increase of 21.2% or 84.7 million dollars compared to imports of the first two months of 2023,” Orellana said. “With a high-value industrial generator imported at the beginning of the year, the machinery and transport equipment went up by $66 million, from $77.8 million in 2023 to $143.8 million in 2024.” He added that Animal Feed revenue plummeted from $10.1 million to $2.8 million as exported quantities fell by more than 2/3 during the period. Orellana continued by saying that sugar exports also saw a notable decrease of $6.8 million, dropping from $10.7 million to $3.8 million, with earnings down by 64%.
Regarding the multidimensional poverty index, in September 2023, 26.4% of the country’s population was considered poor compared to 36.5% at the same time in 2021. As per the report, the reduction was attributed to the level of underemployment, food security, use of unsafe cooking fuels, and unemployment. However, although the poverty rate decreased between September 2021 and September 2023, this intensity remained almost unchanged.

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