The quarterly press conference organized by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) took place today in Belize City and in the area of overall economic development there was good news to report. On the heels of a 1.6% growth in the last quarter of 2014 and projected overall growth of 3.6% for the year, a growth of 7% was recorded for the first quarter of 2015. Much of that increase was seen in the primary agricultural industries, according to SIB statistician, Angelita Campbell.
The production for the primary industry stands at 18% higher than that of last year. Within the primary industry, the agriculture and forestry sector went up by 19.6% and that be seen in an increase of banana of 22.6%. Orange also went up by 129% and that is a result of a change in the harvest season. Sugar Cane, however, decrease by 2.7%. That is explained by a late start in season of sugar cane. Fishing went up by 16.5% and that is a result of the expansion in the fish farm production. We also see shrimp exports going up by 5 million dollars more.
Secondary industries fared less well, according to Campbell
Ms. Angelita Campbell
“The secondary industry went down by0.1%. Within in this industry, we have fluctuations. We see manufacturing and mining going up by eighteen percent, within that sector we see citrus concentrate going up by 121% and that follow suit by an increase in orange production. We have petroleum continuing a decline trend and that decreased by15.3% We also had flower going down by7.5% however, we had beverages going up by 6.5% That is reflected by an increase of beers by 6.7% and soft drinks going up by 9.7%. Even though we had a decrease in sugar cane, we had an increase in the production of sugar by 7.7%. That is as a result of extraction efficiency as well as more clean, fresh and mature cane being delivered.”
The tertiary-service level industries were the other anchor of growth.
Ms. Angelita Campbell
Tertiary industries went up by 4.7%. We see hotels and restaurants increase by 6%. That is explained by an increase in cruise visitors by 10.5%. That could be explained by an additional thirty three thousands, roughly, persons visiting more when compared to last year. There was, however, no change in overnight visitors. We also had whole sale and retail going up by 10.3% and that is reflected in the importation of merchandise goods up 12%. The diagram in front of us illustrates the increase and lack thereof for the cruise passengers and the overnight stay. If you look closely, you see that cruise passengers increase 322.22 thousand of person to 365.9 thousand persons. We see overnight’s slight decrease, of roughly 300 persons.
The 7% quarterly growth is the best recorded since 2011 and reverses a negative growth of 1.8% in 2014.