Belize Economic Forecast

Belize Economic Outlook

April 9, 2019

Economic growth cooled notably at the end of 2018, with GDP growth more than halving in Q4 on a sharp contraction in industrial sector activity. The sector was largely weighed on by a sharp decline in electricity generation due to a lack of rainfall during the quarter. Moreover, growth moderated in the services sector—the engine of the economy—despite stronger tourism in the quarter. On a brighter note, activity in the primary sector quickened notably thanks to soaring citrus and banana production. Turning to 2019, the Ministry of Finance presented the FY 2019-2020 draft budget in mid-March. The budget somewhat relaxes fiscal consolidation efforts, despite high debt interest payments, and emphasizes infrastructure outlays.

Belize Economic Growth

Momentum is expected to moderate this year partly due to a slowing tourism sector. Moreover, the secondary sector will likely continue to drag on growth, while a constrained fiscal stance will limit government spending. A high public debt burden, the possibility of poor weather conditions—which could hamper agriculture, tourism, and energy production—and duller global growth also threaten the outlook. FocusEconomics 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 Rate14.212.110.211.19.7
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 (%)11.1210.6610.039.669.34
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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