Belize Economic Forecast

Belize Economic Outlook

May 14, 2019

First quarter growth was likely subdued following the sharp slowdown in the final quarter of 2018. Merchandise exports tumbled in Q1 amid shrinking shipments of citrus products, and the adverse timing of bulk sugar deliveries which hampered sugar exports in the quarter. Nevertheless, tourist and cruise ship arrivals rose at a brisk pace in January and February, which should have bolstered growth in Q1. On the political front, a majority of Belizeans voted in a referendum on 8 May to request a hearing with the International Court of Justice for a decision on a longstanding territorial dispute with Guatemala. This could help end the bilateral conflict and the uncertainty it brings.

Belize Economic Growth

The economy is expected to cool in 2019, as the maturing U.S. economic cycle will likely weigh on the tourism sector. Moreover, elevated levels of public debt along with potential natural disasters—which could hinder agriculture, tourism, and energy production—present downside risks to the outlook. Met the why particular panelists expect GDP to expand 2.3% in 2019, which is up 0.2 percentage points from last month’s estimate, and 1.9% 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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