Belize Economic Forecast

Belize Economic Outlook

March 12, 2019

The economy likely had a solid showing in Q4 2018, buttressed by strong tourism inflows and an improving external sector, while data suggests momentum carried over into Q1 2019. Merchandise exports soared in January; although this was mostly due to a large bulk sugar shipment, other commodity exports rose as well. Related to the crucial sugar market, IDB Invest recently announced a USD 15 million loan to a major sugar producer to help boost production capacity and stem losses from depressed sugar prices. In other news, the country broke ground on a new USD 80 million port in late February, which should be completed by 2020 and is expected to notably increase cruise ship arrivals.

Belize Economic Growth

Economic growth is expected to wane this year. Nevertheless, sustained growth in the U.S.—the origin of about two-thirds of tourist arrivals—should bolster the tourism sector. A high public debt burden, wide current account deficit, and potential natural disasters cloud the outlook, however. Met the why particular panelists expect GDP to expand 2.1% in 2019, unchanged from last month’s estimate, and 1.7% in 2020.

Belize Economy Data

20132014201520162017
Population (million)0.40.40.40.40.4
GDP per capita (USD)4,6074,7734,8594,8414,829
GDP (USD bn)1.61.71.81.81.9
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)0.74.03.8-0.51.2
Unemployment Rate14.212.111.211.19.7
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-1.6-2.4-7.4-3.8-4.1
Public Debt (% of GDP)79.177.180.086.694.9
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)1.6-0.2-0.61.11.0
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)0.51.2-0.90.71.1
Benchmark Interest Rate (%)11.1211.6611.039.669.34
Current Account (% of GDP)-4.5-7.5-9.7-8.3-7.0
Current Account Balance (USD bn)-0.1-0.1-0.2-0.2-0.1
Trade Balance (USD billion)-0.3-0.3-0.4-0.4-0.4
Exports (USD billion)0.60.60.50.40.5
Imports (USD billion)0.90.91.00.90.8
Exports (annual variation in %)-2.2-3.1-8.7-17.73.3
Imports (annual variation in %)8.65.62.4-9.0-3.3
International Reserves (USD)0.40.50.40.40.3
External Debt (% of GDP)77.575.574.873.9-  

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