The SIB also issued its official figures for Belize’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which indicates that the economy grew by a total of 5.2 percent during the first quarter. The value of goods and services produced stood at $782 million compared to the first quarter of 2018 which recorded $743.4 million.
The primary sector recorded the largest increase when compared to 2018. This is due to a growth of 16.4 percent in sugarcane deliveries, while banana production expanded by 22.5 percent. Cattle and pig production increased by 8.7 and 11.3 percent, respectively but that increase was somewhat dampened by a 1.1 percent fall in poultry production, resulting in an overall growth rate of 1.8 percent for the livestock industry. Marine exports rose by 34 percent and citrus production, on the contrary, fell by 6.3 percent.
The secondary sector declined by 4.7 percent compared to 2018 where production in the ‘Electricity & Water’ subsector fell by 16.1 percent. ‘Construction’ activities plunged by 2.9 percent while crude petroleum extraction reduced by 17.2 percent. The ‘Manufacturing and Mining’ sector, on the other hand, grew by 3.1 percent, whereas, sugar production was up by 17.8 percent.
The tertiary sector grew by 5 percent as the ‘Hotels and Restaurants’ subsector rose by 6.8 percent, due mainly to a 6.3 percent rise in overnight visitors, from just under 148 thousand persons in 2018 to more than 158 thousand persons this year. The number of visitors from Canada rose by 10.3 percent, while numbers for European tourists was up 5 percent and visitors from the US rose by 4.9 percent. Cruise visitors also grew by a substantial 19.5 percent, from 382 thousand persons to 457 thousand persons.
‘Wholesale and Retail Trade’ recorded a rise of 9.9 percent while ‘Government Services’ and ‘Transport, Storage and Communication’ sectors grew by 12 and 4 percent, separately. Tomorrow we will take a look at labor, exports and imports statistics.