Belize Economic Forecast

Belize Economic Outlook

July 14, 2020

The economic panorama remains bleak, following the sharpest contraction in over 18 years in Q1 amid shrinking service-sector activity. The continued effects of the pandemic should have hit the economy even harder in the second quarter, amid falling exports and restricted imports in April–May and virtually extinguished tourism flows throughout the quarter. Moving into Q3, despite plans to reopen the country to tourism next month, the government is set to defer interest payments on USD 500 million of bonds due on 20 August, as revenues have been ravaged by the effects of the health crisis. As a result, S&P Global Ratings downgraded its rating to CC from CCC and affirmed its negative outlook, noting that high debt, low international reserves and shrinking economic activity all limit the country’s scope to handle the ongoing pandemic.

Belize Economic Growth

This year, the economy is projected to shrink rapidly due to reduced private consumption and tumbling fixed investment, while the external sector is set to take a hard hit from lower tourist arrivals. Prolonged drought conditions and sovereign debt issues darken the outlook further. FocusEconomics panelists forecast GDP to contract 9.8% in 2020, which is down 1.5 percentage points from last month’s estimate, and then grow 5.2% in 2021.

Belize Economy Data

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Population (million)0.40.40.40.40.4
GDP per capita (USD)4,7124,7204,7554,728-  
GDP (USD bn)1.71.81.81.9-  
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)2.80.11.92.1-2.0
Unemployment Rate10.211.19.79.410.4
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-8.0-3.4-2.8-0.7-1.8
Public Debt (% of GDP)82.788.996.496.699.7
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)-0.61.11.0-0.10.2
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)-0.90.71.10.30.2
Benchmark Interest Rate (%)10.329.849.469.129.08
Current Account (% of GDP)-10.0-8.5-7.8-8.1-  
Current Account Balance (USD bn)-0.2-0.2-0.1-0.2-0.2
Trade Balance (USD billion)-0.4-0.4-0.4-0.4-0.5
Exports (USD billion)0.50.40.50.50.5
Imports (USD billion)1.00.90.80.91.0
Exports (annual variation in %)-8.7-17.83.2-1.22.4
Imports (annual variation in %)2.3-9.0-3.15.88.0
International Reserves (USD)0.40.40.30.30.3
External Debt (% of GDP)75.874.574.573.7-  

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