By Benjamin Flowers
Belize’s economy contracted slightly for the second quarter of 2015, according to new data released by the Statistical Institute of Belize.
The SIB on Wednesday released its latest statistics, including the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates and External Trade Bulletin, which showed decreases in primary and secondary industries, contributing to an overall GDP decline of 1.6 percent.
Belize produced goods and services for the months of April- June valued at $728.6 million, an almost $12 million drop from 2014’s $740.5 million.
The Primary Sector, which encompasses industries such as agriculture and fishing, saw a decrease of 9.4 percent. Marine exports fell the lowest in this sector, recording a decline of 11 percent.
“We found that the largest decrease was in manufacturing, oil and mining, which was around 10.9 million dollars less than what was produced in 2014”, Said Jefte Ochaeta, Statistician at the SIB.
Marilyn Pinelo-Lee – Economic Statistics Manager, explained that Citrus experienced a decline of $13.2 million, attributing to decreased exports.”
The secondary sector, which converts raw material into processed goods, fell by 10.8 percent, largely due to a decline in construction activity and oil extraction falling 20 percent and 17 percent respectively.
Tertiary industries, which represent about half of Belize’s economy, did manage to grow by 2.9 percent, even in the face of a 0.2 percent decline in the tourism industry.
Earlier this year, The Central Bank of Belize estimated that end of year GDP growth will fall between 2 -2.5 percent. The SIB’s data reflects an increase of 2.6 percent for the first six months of 2015, despite the second quarter decline.