Puerto Rico Economic Forecast

Puerto Rico Economic Outlook

May 19, 2020

Frequent earthquakes since January and the fallout from Covid-19 are smothering the economy. On 1 May, the government announced that it was extending the national lockdown, which has been in effect since 15 March to reduce the spread of coronavirus. This will be extinguishing domestic demand, while the external sector will be suffering from weak demand abroad. The effect on the labor market is notable: There was a sharp rise in unemployment claims in April, at a rate not seen since at least the late 1980s. In better news, from 4 May, some service sectors will be able to get back to business, although strict hygiene rules will apply, while construction and manufacturing activity will be able to resume from 11 May. Moreover, the government received USD 2.2 billion in federal financial assistance in April and has asked the federal oversight board to delay required austerity measures for two years.

Puerto Rico Economic Growth

The economy is set to contract in fiscal year 2020, which runs from July 2019 to June 2020, after growing in FY 2019 for the first time in seven years. This is due to the coronavirus pandemic, earthquakes and a dwindling population. Our panelists forecast that GNP will contract 2.7% in FY 2020, which is down 0.3 percentage points from last month’s estimate, before expanding 2.3% in FY 2021.

Puerto Rico Economy Data

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Population (million)3.53.53.43.33.2
GNP per capita (USD)19,46320,04020,54421,05321,298
GNP (USD bn)68.869.670.070.068.0
Economic Growth (GNP, annual variation in %)-1.8-0.8-1.6-3.0-4.7
Unemployment Rate14.312.911.711.510.3
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-  -  -  -  -  
Public Debt (% of GDP)97.895.191.891.7-  
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)1.5-1.30.21.91.0
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)0.9-0.3-0.20.61.6
Current Account (% of GDP)4.37.29.18.48.1
Current Account Balance (USD bn)4.47.59.58.78.1
Trade Balance (USD billion)19.726.428.425.214.1
Exports (USD billion)62.369.571.771.160.6
Imports (USD billion)42.643.143.345.946.5
Exports (annual variation in %)-0.111.53.3-0.9-14.8
Imports (annual variation in %)-5.61.20.56.11.1

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