Belize Economic Forecast

Belize Economic Outlook

January 15, 2019

The fourth quarter should have seen the economy growing modestly, led by surging tourist inflows. The tourism sector had a record-breaking performance in 2018, attracting nearly half a million overnight stays in the year and over one million cruise passenger arrivals, with December posting the strongest month-on-month surge in cruise arrivals in history. Meanwhile, merchandise exports recovered in November, on higher revenue from major commodities including sugar and bananas. Nevertheless, cumulative export earnings from January–November declined by more than 11% from the same period a year prior, weighed on by the depressed sugar market, and despite stronger petroleum and marine product exports.

Belize Economic Growth

Economic growth should remain robust in 2019, powered by the tourism and agricultural sectors. However, elevated public debt and external imbalances—namely a wide current account deficit and low international reserves—are the forefront risks to the outlook. Met the why particular panelists expect GDP to expand 2.1% in 2019, which is 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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