Puerto Rico Economic Forecast

Puerto Rico Economic Outlook

October 13, 2020

The economy likely shrank at the end of FY 2020 (July 2019–June 2020). Economic activity dropped over 9% on average in April–June, due to the fallout from the pandemic and regular earthquakes. Available data suggests activity remained frail at the outset of FY 2021. The unemployment rate rose again in August, weighing on consumer spending. Meanwhile, in July, exports and imports decreased again, while total hotel stays dived. However, the overall downturn seemingly bottomed out in June as economic activity dropped a softer 8.2% on average in July–August. More positively, on 18 September the U.S. announced USD 11.6 billion in aid to help the country recover from the damage done by Hurricane Maria in 2017. In politics, center-right Pedro Pierluisi is likely to be elected in the 3 November gubernatorial vote. However, room for maneuver post-election will be severely restrained by the need to comply with the Financial Oversight Board.

Puerto Rico Economic Growth

Economic activity is expected to recover modestly in FY 2021 (July 2020–June 2021), although it should do so mainly during the second half of the year, as the double shock of earthquakes and the pandemic continues to weigh on the economy during H1. Our panelists forecast that GNP will expand 1.5% in FY 2021, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast and 3.8% in FY 2022.

Puerto Rico Economy Data

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Population (million)
GNP per capita (USD)20,04020,54420,76721,22822,874
GNP (USD bn)69.670.069.067.870.8
Economic Growth (GNP, annual variation in %)-0.8-1.6-3.2-4.21.5
Unemployment Rate12.911.711.510.38.4
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-  -  -  -  -  
Public Debt (% of GDP)95.191.892.9-  -  
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)-
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)-0.7-
Current Account (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance (USD bn)
Trade Balance (USD billion)26.428.425.214.114.3
Exports (USD billion)69.571.771.160.663.7
Imports (USD billion)43.143.345.946.549.4
Exports (annual variation in %)11.53.3-0.9-14.85.1
Imports (annual variation in %)

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