Puerto Rico Economic Forecast

Puerto Rico Economic Outlook

August 6, 2019

The economy almost certainly exited a six-year recession in fiscal year 2019, which ended in June. Economic activity grew every month from July 2018 to May 2019, although growth slowed to a nine-month low in May. The labor market tightened, with the unemployment rate in FY 2019 averaging notably below the rate recorded in FY 2018. Meanwhile, in the political arena, Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned from office on 2 August and was replaced by Secretary of State Pedro Pierluisi, although a Senate vote of approval of Pierluisi is still pending. This followed the revelation of offensive messages sent by Rosselló and his advisors that sparked one of the largest protests in the Commonwealth’s history. The consequent uncertainty will likely weigh on economic activity in early FY 2020.

Puerto Rico Economic Growth

While the ongoing re-building efforts will support the economy in FY 2020, growth should moderate on a high base effect, tighter government spending and the political turbulence at the start of the year. Going forward, a dwindling population, fragile government finances and a high risk of hurricanes all weigh on economic prospects. Our panelists forecast that GNP will expand 2.2% in FY 2020, which is down 0.5 percentage points from last month’s estimate, before slowing to 0.8% in FY 2021.

Puerto Rico Economy Data

Population (million)
GNP per capita (USD)19,18819,46320,04020,54421,053
GNP (USD bn)68.968.869.670.070.0
Economic Growth (GNP, annual variation in %)-0.1-1.8-0.8-1.6-3.0
Unemployment Rate14.014.313.011.711.5
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-  -  -  -  -  
Public Debt (% of GDP)94.297.895.191.891.7
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)0.41.5-
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)0.90.9-0.3-0.20.6
Current Account (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance (USD bn)
Trade Balance (USD billion)17.319.726.428.425.2
Exports (USD billion)62.462.369.571.771.1
Imports (USD billion)45.142.643.143.345.9
Exports (annual variation in %)6.9-
Imports (annual variation in %)-3.2-

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