Economy in Belize

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Economy—overview: In this small, essentially private-enterprise economy, tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by exports of agriculture, marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to sturdy GDP growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2007. Oil discoveries in 2006 bolstered the economic growth in 2006 and 2007. Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and unsustainable foreign debt. In February 2007, the government restructured nearly all of its public external commercial debt, which will reduce interest payments and create the liquidity relief needed for an increase in public spending in the run-up to the March 2008 elections. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$680 million (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 2.9% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$3 000 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 20%

industry: 27%

services: 53% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 1% (1997 est.)

Labor force:

total: 71 000

by occupation: agriculture 30% services 16% government 15.4% commerce 11.2% manufacturing 10.3%

note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 13% (1997 est.)


revenues: $140 million

expenditures: $142 million including capital expenditures of $NA (FY97/98 est.)

Industries: garment production food processing tourism construction

Industrial production growth rate: 0.2% (1996 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 23 000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 105 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 491 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: bananas coca citrus sugarcane; lumber; fish cultured shrimp


total value: $166 million (f.o.b. 1996)

commodities: sugar citrus fruits bananas clothing fish products molasses wood

partners: US 44% UK 42% other EU 5% Canada 3% (1996)


total value: $262 million (c.i.f. 1996)

commodities: machinery and transportation equipment food manufactured goods fuels chemicals pharmaceuticals

partners: US 55% Mexico 12% UK 5% (1997)

Debt—external: $217 million (1996)

Economic aid:

recipient: ODA $NA

Currency: 1 Belizean dollar (Bz$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Belizean dollars (Bz$) per US$1—2.0000 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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