Primary activities down while secondary and tertiary sectors went up
As of the end of June 2022, the Statistical Institute of Belize has introduced an upgraded gross domestic product (GDP) compilation methodology, accompanied by a revised economic growth of 5.3 per cent for the first quarter of 2022.
The GDP estimates for the first quarter of 2022 have been compiled using this updated methodology, utilising both the previously used and the newly introduced methodologies for the past several quarters.
During the first quarter months of January to March 2022, the total value of goods and services produced within Belize was estimated at $1.21 billion, up 5.3 per cent or $61.3 million from $1.15 billion produced in the same period of 2021.
This represented the highest level of production for any first quarter on record and surpassed the pre-pandemic production levels recorded for the first quarter of 2019.
“Moreover, revised quarterly estimates indicated that, by the end of 2021, the country’s economic output had effectively recovered to levels exceeding those recorded for pre-pandemic 2019,” the Statistical Institute of Belize reported.
For the first quarter of 2022, the tertiary sector grew by six per cent, boosted by strong performances in the ‘Wholesale and Retail Trade’, ‘Transport’, and tourism industries were the largest contributor to the estimated growth for the first quarter. Activities within the secondary sector were up by 2.6 per cent, as the ‘Manufacturing’ and ‘Construction’ industries saw increases, while reduced production of some agricultural and marine products led to a one per cent contraction within the primary sector.
‘Taxes on Products’ were up by 14.6 per cent during the quarter. For the first quarter, production within the primary sector totaled $158.2 million, a reduction of one per cent or $1.6 million compared to the first quarter of 2021. Banana production was down by 11.8 per cent, from 22,000 metric tons in the first quarter of 2021 to 19,400 metric tons for the first quarter of 2022.
Citrus fruit deliveries saw an even sharper decline of 31.2 per cent, from 35,000 metric tons to 24,100 metric tons, attributed to a shortage of workers for this industry. Fishing activities fell by 14 per cent, due mainly to a 79 per cent reduction in shrimp production.
Notwithstanding the overall contraction within the sector, however, increases were seen among some of the primary industries. Sugarcane production was up by 3.2 per cent, from 758,000 metric tons in the first quarter of 2021 to 782,600 metric tons in the first quarter of 2022.
Livestock activities grew by five per cent during the quarter, as pig production rose by a notable 22.3 per cent and poultry production increased by five per cent, in response to heightened local demand. These increases offset a reduction in the cattle industry, where production, although well above historical levels, was 26.2 per cent lower than in the first quarter of last year, when a significant spike in cattle exports was recorded.
Activities within the secondary sector increased by 2.6 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2021 with production totaling an estimated $183.9 million for the first quarter of 2022. This increase was driven in large part by the ‘Manufacturing’ industry, which grew by 5.1 per cent.
Beverage production rose by 12 per cent due to an increase in demand, including demand by the tourism sector. Flour production was up by 8.8 per cent, also in response to a rise in demand. Citrus concentrate production, on the other hand, decreased by a significant 29.3 per cent, from 664,000 gallons in the first quarter of 2021 to 469,000 gallons in the same period of 2022, as a result of the notable drop in citrus fruit deliveries.
The ‘Construction’ industry recorded growth of 6.5 per cent, from $54.4 million to $57.9 million, as reflected by an increase in loans for building and construction. The ‘Electricity’ industry saw a 16.5 per cent decrease, from $24.8 million to $20.7 million, as water levels at the hydroelectric dams were being managed in anticipation of further global fuel price increases.
The ‘Water’ industry, on the other hand grew by 6.4 per cent, due to a rise in consumption during the quarter.
Production within the tertiary sector was valued at $749.2 million for the first quarter of 2022, up by six per cent or $42.7 million from the $706.5 million produced in the first quarter of 2021. Most notable within this sector was the ‘Hotels and Restaurants’ industry, for which output more than tripled, from $17.4 million to $63.5 million, as cruise tourism resumed and overnight tourist arrivals continued to rise.
The ‘Wholesale and Retail Trade’ industry grew by 12.8 per cent, from $149.5 million to $168 million, while the ‘Transport’ industry rose by 5.1 per cent, from $54.5 million to $57.2 million. This was as a result of an increase in the movement of both merchandise and passengers.
Production of government services was up by 3.8 per cent, from $56.5 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $58.7 million in the first quarter of 2022.