Belize Economic Forecast

Belize Economic Outlook

September 10, 2019

The economy contracted slightly in the second quarter, contrasting strong growth in the first quarter. The secondary sector languished under plunging electricity generation, due to a prolonged dry season; lower manufacturing output; and weaker construction activity, which was likely weighed on by tighter lending conditions. Meanwhile, output of the major agricultural commodities—including sugarcane, citrus and bananas—dropped in Q2, while marine exports also fell. Growth in the services sector, which accounts for around three-quarters of the total economy, slowed due to weaker tourist arrivals translating into softer hotel and restaurant activity and more moderate wholesale and retail trade growth. Turning to the third quarter, a robust pick-up in merchandise exports in July bodes well for renewed momentum.

Belize Economic Growth

The economy will likely lose traction this year on weaker consumer spending and fixed investment. Moreover, the slowdown in the U.S., the origin of the majority of tourist arrivals, will likely weigh on the tourism sector. Elevated public debt and the risk of potential natural disasters present additional vulnerabilities to the outlook. FocusEconomics panelists expect GDP to expand 2.3% in 2019, which is unchanged 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)4,5964,7424,8164,8054,825
GDP (USD bn)1.61.71.81.81.9
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)0.93.73.4-0.61.4
Unemployment Rate14.212.110.211.19.7
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-0.7-2.2-6.3-5.9-5.6
Public Debt (% of GDP)79.377.780.987.395.0
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 (%)11.5110.8210.339.849.46
Current Account (% of GDP)-4.5-7.5-9.7-8.4-7.7
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 %)8.65.62.4-9.0-3.1
International Reserves (USD)0.40.50.40.40.3
External Debt (% of GDP)77.676.075.574.475.1

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