Belize Budget Speech 2014: Economic Performance Review

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Information about Belize Budget Speech 2014: Economic Performance Review
Finance

Published on March 11, 2014

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2014 Budget Presentation: Economic Review #finance #economy #belize

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 1 REVIEW OF THE ECONOMY, 2013 [THIS DOCUMENT IS AN ANNEX TO THE 2014 BUDGET SPEECH]

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 2 REVIEW OF THE ECONOMY 2013 Table of Contents INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................................................3 INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS ..................................................................................4 THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY................................................................................................................................4 REGIONAL ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE .......................................................................................................................4 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN BELIZE - 2013..............................................................................................6 THE REAL ECONOMY .................................................................................................................................................6 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ...........................................................................................................................6 Prices ....................................................................................................................................................................7 Employment ..........................................................................................................................................................7 CENTRAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS.......................................................................................................................8 Projected Outturn .................................................................................................................................................8 Revenue Performance...........................................................................................................................................8 Expenditure Performance .....................................................................................................................................9 Central Government’s Debt ................................................................................................................................11 THE EXTERNAL SECTOR...........................................................................................................................................12 MONETARY AND FINANCIAL DEVELOPMENTS .........................................................................................................15 ANNEX.......................................................................................................................................................................17

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 3 INTRODUCTION This publication focuses on economic performance during 2013 and is one of the supporting documents associated with the 2014 Budget Speech. Honourable Members', citizens and agencies that need to engage in detailed examination of the national Budget will find it useful.

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 4 INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY While world output grew by an estimated 3.0% in 2013, this was still well below the global economic potential. The emerging market economies continued to lead world growth although some weakening occurred due to supply-side constraints, infrastructural bottlenecks, lower domestic demand and the financial impact of the US Federal Reserve's reduced bond purchases. The United States, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the world's output, grew by 1.9 percent, and both Canada and the United Kingdom registered increases of 1.7 percent. The Euro area also emerged from recession in 2013 and would appear to be turning the corner although with some divergence between core countries and southern Europe. The People’s Republic of China continues to steam ahead in the meanwhile even as measures are taken to rebalance its development strategy. REGIONAL ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE The challenges faced by the CARICOM member states remained broadly unchanged as countries continued to grapple with balance of payments pressures, high debt levels, limited fiscal space and declining competitiveness. Commodity exporters such as Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago proved to be resilient. But in the tourism-dependent economies of the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and islands of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, structural weaknesses were compounded by low, or in some cases, flat visitor arrivals coupled with a decline in major tourism-related construction activity. In the case of Jamaica and Barbados, this led to the need for painful adjustments. With its debt-to-GDP ratio exceeding 140.0 percent, Jamaica committed to an ambitious fiscal consolidation program in May as part of a 4-year US$932 million funding facility under the International Monetary Fund’s Extended Fund Facility. The Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank also joined in, pledging an additional US$510 million each for a total financing package of US$2 billion over the next four years. In Barbados, output is estimated to have contracted by 0.7 percent in 2013 while international reserves declined, the fiscal deficit widened significantly and the Central Government debt-to-GDP ratio rose to 94.0 percent. The government therefore embarked

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 5 on home-grown fiscal reforms aimed at addressing underlying weaknesses in public finances and alleviating external pressures. In addition to imposing a freeze on wages, the Barbados government has committed to reducing the size of the civil service and the number of employees at State Owned Enterprises by 3,000 workers in the first quarter of 2014.

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 6 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN BELIZE - 2013 THE REAL ECONOMY Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Preliminary estimates by the Statistical Institute of Belize are that GDP growth decelerated from 4.0 percent in 2012 to 0.7 percent in 2013. The slowdown emanated in part from the primary sector where unfavourable weather and diseases caused production of the major export crops - banana, sugarcane and citrus – to decrease. The secondary sector also contracted due to the concurrent decline in agro-manufacturing of sugar and citrus juices coupled with the continued slide in petroleum extraction. On the upside, the services sector, which now accounts for approximately 58.0 percent of the economy, performed well largely due to buoyancy in tourism and an uptick in government services. Following a record harvest in 2012, the banana crop returned to its customary output level, declining by 4.7 percent to 98,820 metric tons. Citrus deliveries fell by 29.9 percent due to citrus greening and unfavourable weather. Meanwhile, sugarcane deliveries declined by 21.9 percent as the start of the harvest was postponed from December to January 2014 due to excessive rains that damaged roads and crops in the field. A dispute also erupted between farmers and American Sugar Refineries concerning payment for bagasse. Fortunately, this was resolved with a compromise being reached on the way forward for this hot button issue. Deliveries for the 2013/2014 sugarcane season consequently commenced once weather and roads permitted. A downturn in agro-manufacturing was linked to output reductions of 28.8 percent for citrus juices and 17.3 percent for sugar. In addition, petroleum extraction contracted by 23.1 percent to 792,339 barrels. Production at the Never Delay field yielded only 5,533 barrels, 86.7 percent below the 2012 production, while the fall in Spanish Lookout output was 20.4 percent. There were some bright spots in both the primary and secondary sectors however. Shrimp farming was on an upswing with two new farms being added in the last quarter of 2013. Meanwhile, with its first full year of operations since re-entering the industry in the latter half of 2012, Belize Aquaculture Limited led production with 5.3 million pounds of farmed shrimp.

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 7 Construction activity was strong and reflected public sector infrastructural works and private sector projects, including an uptick in residential mortgages. Output of domestic electricity surged ahead during the second half of 2013 and more than compensated for the steep drop during the first half of the year. Starting August, the same excessive rainfalls that caused increased crop losses and damaged the road infrastructure, also boosted the output of hydroelectricity and contributed to a 12.9 percent increase in domestic electricity production during the year. The services sector was the main engine of economic growth in 2013. Buoyancy in tourism was supported by strategic marketing efforts and heightened publicity as well as by improvements in the economies of Belize’s main source markets. Stay-over arrivals increased by 5.8 percent with visitors from the US and EU, Belize’s primary markets, up by 4.1 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively. Cruise ship disembarkations also rose by 5.7 percent to 609,612 visitors, reversing the 11.9 percent contraction experienced during 2012. The growth momentum generated by the tourism industry rippled across the services sector and heightened activities in “Wholesale and Retail Trade”, “Hotels and Restaurants” and “Transport and Communication”. Prices Inflationary pressure eased in 2013 with the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) slowing down from an annual average of 1.3 percent in 2012 to 0.5 percent. This easing resulted as higher prices for “Medical Care”, "Transport" and "Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages" were softened by the lower prices that were observed for “Miscellaneous Goods and Services” and “Clothing and Footwear”. Employment As was the case in 2012, the SIB conducted the two rounds of its Labour Force Survey in 2013. The first round of the survey, which coincides with seasonally higher levels of economic activity, was in April. The second was in September when there are lower levels of activity in the sugar, citrus and tourism industries. The average employment level for the 2013 rounds of the survey suggests that 3,000 more persons with jobs as compared to 2012. Also, the unemployment rate fell to an average of 12.9% in 2013 from 15.2% recorded in 2012.

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 8 CENTRAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS Projected Outturn The projected outturn for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013/2014 indicates that Central Government posted a primary surplus equivalent to 0.9 percent of GDP, down from a budgeted 1.0 percent and an overall deficit equivalent to 2.1 percent of GDP, compared to budgeted 1.8 percent. While the total revenue and grants increased by $40 million to a record $912 million, this was outweighed by a rise in total expenditure, which went up by $45 million to $979 million. The financed was financed from external sources, mostly from the PetroCaribe proceeds, which also contributed to a build of deposits in the banking system. The total projected current revenue of $856 million for FY 2013/2014 is $44 million above the $812 million collected in FY 2012/2013. Actual Actual Approved Projected Outturn Outturn Estimates Outturn 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2013/2014 Total Revenue and Grants 835.7 837.4 872.5 900.6 Total Expenditure 867.3 854.0 933.8 974.6 Primary Balance 66.0 41.1 35.2 32.9 As % of GDP 2.2% 1.3% 1.0% 1.0% Overall Deficit (31.6) (16.6) (61.4) (74.0) As % of GDP -1.1% -0.5% -1.8% -2.3% Amortization (56.2) (61.2) (64.5) (63.0) Financing Requirement (87.8) (77.8) (125.8) (137.0) GDP in current market prices 3,008 3,159 3,369 3,232 Summary of Budget Estimates, FY 2011/2012 to FY 2013/2014 (Bz$million) Revenue Performance The upswing in government receipts from Business Tax, GST on importation, IBC and IMMARBE Registries and Dividends from BTL and BEL amounted to $59 million. However, a $30 million contraction in collections from the domestic petroleum activities, International Trade and Transactions and Excise tempered the increase in total revenue to $29 million.

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 9 The $11 million projected rise in Grants to $52 million is ascribed to several inflows from our bilateral and international partners as well as from domestic sources. Actual Actual Approved Projected Outturn Outturn Estimates Outturn 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2013/2014 Total Revenue and Grants 835.7 837.4 872.5 900.6 Total Revenue 802.5 816.0 831.4 860.6 Current Revenue 794.7 811.4 826.3 855.5 Tax Revenue 669.9 703.7 727.0 747.4 Taxes on Income & Profits 237.0 232.1 233.8 240.7 Taxes on Property 6.7 4.9 7.2 5.9 Taxes on Goods & Services 230.3 277.9 282.6 301.3 International Trade & Transactions 196.0 188.8 203.5 199.6 Non-Tax Revenue 124.8 107.7 99.3 108.0 Property Income 24.1 5.7 6.9 15.3 Licenses 12.6 14.8 15.8 14.3 Royalties 35.4 27.3 30.3 38.0 Ministries & Departments 41.5 32.2 36.9 39.4 Repayment of old loans 11.3 27.7 9.4 1.1 Capital Revenue 7.8 4.6 5.1 5.1 Grants 33.1 21.3 41.1 40.0 Summary of Revenue and Grants, FY 2011/2012 to FY 2013/2014 (Bz$ million) Expenditure Performance Some 80 percent of the projected total expenditure of $979 million for FY 2013/14 is for current expenditure, and the remaining 20 percent is for development expenditure and net lending. The $6 million expansion in current expenditure is due primarily to grants extended by the Government for educational purposes and to municipalities for rebuilding works following the unseasonal rains during the latter part of 2013. In the case of development expenditure, the projected $39 million increase is entirely the result of an upswing in Capital II outlays. This heightened expenditure is attributed infrastructure work programs in municipalities and villages following the inclement weather of 2013, professional fees and compensations for land acquisitions. These expenditures are responsible for the slippage in the fiscal performance.

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 10 Actual Actual Approved Projected Outturn Outturn Estimates Outturn 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2013/2014 Total Expenditure 867.3 854.0 933.8 974.6 Current Expenditure 724.3 706.7 778.0 780.2 Wages and salaries 296.4 298.2 313.2 312.0 Pensions 51.6 54.5 55.2 54.8 Goods and services 174.1 165.7 181.0 173.0 Subsidies and current transfers 104.6 130.6 132.0 133.5 Interest payments & other charges 97.6 57.7 96.5 107.0 Capital Expenditure & Net Lending 142.9 147.3 155.8 194.4 Capital II 72.8 66.2 67.5 105.1 Capital III 65.3 77.8 85.2 86.2 Net lending 4.8 3.3 3.1 3.1 Amortization (56.2) (61.2) (64.5) (63.0) Summary of Expenditure, FY 2011/2012 to FY 2013/2014 (Bz$ million) Wages and salaries, $312 mn Pensions, $55 mn Goods and services, $182 mn Subsidies & current transfers, $139 mn Interest payments, $96 mn Capital Expenditure & Net Lending, $194 mn Chart 1: Distribution of Government's $975 million Expenditure in FY 2013/14

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 11 Central Government’s Debt The outstanding development in the public sector debt position was the Government’s successful closure of the US$548 million debt exchange offer on 8 March 2013, when 86.17 percent of creditors signaled agreement versus the required creditor participation rate of 75.0 percent. The new terms achieved a 43.3 percent reduction in net present value and significantly lowered annual debt service costs in the short and medium terms. ACTUAL ACTUAL PROJECTED FORECAST 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 Total Debt (Bz$ Million) 2,276.4 2,304.4 2,472.5 2,503.8 Domestic Debt 380.3 386.1 383.8 382.2 External Debt 1,896.1 1,918.3 2,088.7 2,121.6 Total Debt (AS Percent of GDP) 75.7% 72.9% 76.5% 74.5% Domestic Debt 12.6% 12.2% 11.9% 11.4% External Debt 63.0% 60.7% 64.6% 63.1% Central Government's Debt Disbursed Outstanding Debt The main features of the exchange included: a principal haircut of 10.0 percent, an increase in maturity by 9 years to February 2038, equal semi-annual principal amortizations commencing in August 2019, a step-up coupon structure with the annual interest payments set at 5.0 percent for the first four years after issuance of the new bond, then rising to 6.678 percent thereafter through to maturity, and the capitalisation of the unpaid portion of the August 2012 interest payment and interest accrued from August 2012 through to 19 March 2013. Reflecting this notable development, the public sector’s external debt service payments during 2013 declined by 23.6 percent, as principal payments to multilateral and bilateral creditors

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 12 amounted to $78 million, and interest payments summed to $44 million, compared to $78.6 million during 2012. Disbursements from bilateral and multilateral creditors during the year amounted to $244 million, a significant increase, as Belize took full advantage of the concessionary line of credit offered under the Venezuelan Petrocaribe Agreement. Disbursements under this agreement totaled $143 million in 2013 and accounted for 60 percent of all foreign borrowing. With disbursements exceeding principal payments, the external debt stock rose by 6.5 percent to $2,161 million, and the debt to GDP ratio increased from 64.5 percent in 2012 to 67.8 percent of GDP in 2013. A noteworthy development was a fall in the average interest rate on the public sector external debt from 3.8 percent in 2012 to 2.04 percent in 2013. This fall was largely due to the concessional nature of the Venezuelan loans (1.0 percent annual interest and repayment period of 25 years) and only one of two biannual interest payments being made in 2013 on the restructured bond. External borrowings facilitated a reduction in domestic financing as Central Government’s domestic debt contracted by 1.2 percent to $385 million, or 12.1 percent of GDP. The overdraft balance held with the Central Bank settled at $55 million, which was below the legislated ceiling of $69 million for the FY 2013/2014. THE EXTERNAL SECTOR On the external front, initial estimates are that the balance of payments current account deficit increased from 2.1 percent of GDP in 2012 to 5.0 percent of GDP. The bulk of this was due to a 28.5 percent widening of the merchandise trade deficit as imports rose by $78 million against a $41 million decline in exports. Most of the imports growth was for domestic use such as electricity, cement, vehicles and pharmaceuticals. In the case of exports, higher receipts from banana, marine products and papaya could not compensate for steep declines in earnings from petroleum and citrus juices as well as a dip in commercial free zone sales.

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 13 Contributing to the expansion of the external current account deficit was a decline in net inflows from services, as higher earnings from tourism were outweighed by increased outlays for freight charges and miscellaneous expenses that included fees associated with the bond restructuring. Other developments of note included a reduction in remittance inflows to workers and a contraction in interest payments abroad due to the bond restructuring. -1000.0 -500.0 0.0 500.0 1000.0 1500.0 2000.0 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 $millions Chart 2: Current Account Balance and Trade Deficit Current Account Balance Goods: Exports FOB Goods: Imports FOB Trade Deficit 0.0 100.0 200.0 300.0 400.0 500.0 600.0 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 $millions Chart 3: Travel Inflows

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 14 Meanwhile, the capital account surplus almost doubled to $75 million due to the 10.0 percent haircut negotiated on the restructured super bond and grants from foreign donors. Net inflows on the financial account more than doubled due to substantial loan disbursements to the Government under the Venezuelan PetroCaribe Agreement. Foreign direct investment subsided to a more customary level in 2013, after peaking in 2012 as a result of the ASR investment into Belize Sugar Industries. The surge in financial and capital inflows not only financed the larger current account deficit but also led to a $228 million increase in the gross international reserves to $805 million, which is equivalent to 5.0 months of merchandise imports. - 50.0 100.0 150.0 200.0 250.0 300.0 350.0 400.0 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 $millions Chart 4: Foreign Direct Investment Significant Investments in the petroleum and tourism industries Reflects ASR investment into BSI

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 15 MONETARY AND FINANCIAL DEVELOPMENTS Turning to the monetary and financial sector, an event of some note in 2013 was the opening of a sixth domestic bank, the National Bank of Belize Limited, which is wholly owned by the Government. The strategy of the National Bank will be to target low and middle income customers including civil servants who have been marginalized by the traditional commercial banks. During the year, growth in the broad measure of money supply decelerated to 1.4 percent with bilateral disbursements from Venezuela and the Republic of China/Taiwan dominating developments. These disbursements along with other receipts from sugar and petroleum had the twin effects of boosting Central Government's deposits with the Central Bank and the latter's holdings of official foreign reserves. Commercial banks' liquidity remained elevated but its persistent climb was halted for the first time since 2007. This was largely due to a $72 million contraction in the net foreign assets holdings of the banks that reflected a widening of the external current account deficit, lower foreign direct investment flows and a healthy increase of $52 million in their loan portfolio, most of which occurred during the last quarter of 2013. This credit growth occurred even after taking into account further write-offs of $51 million in non- performing loans, which followed write-offs of $45 million in 2012 and $37 million in 2011. Three successive years of balance sheet repair and Central Bank vigilance brought the ratio of non-performing loans (net of specific provisions) to total loans to 8.8 percent at the end of 2013, down from 14.4 percent at the end of 2011, and well on its way to the prudential benchmark of 5.0 percent. Disbursements were channelled mainly to the agricultural sector for grain production, land acquisition, residential and commercial construction, residential real estate, infrastructural development and personal loans. Lending from the five largest credit unions was also upbeat as loans rose by $59 million (14.6 percent) compared to $36 million (9.9 percent) in 2012. Again, funds were directed mainly to agricultural production and processing activities, commercial real estate and land acquisition, residential construction and personal loans, the latter being especially to meet educational expenses and vehicle purchases.

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 16 With commercial banks’ holdings of statutory liquid balances and cash exceeding requirements by 56.3 percent and 102.8 percent, respectively, the weighted average interest rate spread narrowed by 36 basis points to 8.95 percent. Led by a rate reduction of 80 basis points on residential mortgage loans, the weighted average lending rate fell by 74 basis points to 11.12 percent. While the weighted average rate for residential mortgages stood at 9.69 percent, in some instances, individual mortgage rates were offered below 7.0 percent during the last quarter of 2013. The weighted average interest rate on commercial loans also posted a 70 basis points decline. Concurrently, the weighted average deposit rate fell by 38 basis points to 2.17 percent, indicating a possible bottoming out due to the uneven distribution of liquidity, an uptick in credit demand and an increase in competitive behaviour.

Bettering People, Building Belize - A Budget For All 17 ANNEX 2009 2010 2011 2012R 2013P POPULATION AND EMPLOYMENT Population (Thousands) 333.2 323.4 332.7 339.9 352.0 Employed Labour Force (Thousands) 120.5 100.7 n.a. 126.6 129.9 Unemployment Rate at April (%) 13.1 23.3 n.a. 14.4 13.1 INCOME GDP at Current Market Prices ($mn) 2,698.0 2,797.0 2,895.0 3,145.2 3,184.6 Per Capita GDP ($, Current Mkt. Prices) 8,097.2 8,649.8 8,701.5 9,252.3 9,047.2 Real GDP Growth (%) - 2.7 2.0 4.0 0.7 Sectoral Distribution of Constant 2000 GDP (%) Primary Activities 11.7 11.4 10.6 13.8 13.4 Secondary Activities 21.4 20.8 20.7 17.0 15.1 Services 53.7 54.1 54.9 60.1 61.5 TOURISM Stay Over Arrivals (Thousands) 221.7 224.7 233.2 257.3 272.3 Cruise Ship Passsenger Arrivals (Thousands) 634.7 688.2 654.8 576.7 609.6 MONEY AND PRICES ($mn) Inflation (Annual average percentage change) (1.1) 0.9 1.7 1.3 0.5 Currency and Demand deposits (M1) 713.3 707.9 839.4 1,102.9 1,121.9 Quasi-Money (Savings and Time deposits) 1,379.9 1,377.1 1,361.9 1,340.7 1,354.7 Money Supply (M2) 2,093.2 2,085.0 2,201.3 2,443.6 2,476.6 Excess statutory liquidity 105.0 160.1 221.1 310.1 293.5 Excess cash liquidity 40.0 60.5 95.7 152.6 198.3 Excess securities 24.7 151.5 173.9 166.0 CREDIT ($mn) Commercial Bank Loans and Advances 1,805.4 1,762.0 1,756.5 1,802.6 1,854.3 Public Sector 7.1 8.9 9.1 16.6 23.8 Private Sector 1,798.3 1,753.1 1,747.4 1,786.0 1,830.5 INTEREST RATE (%) Weighted Average Lending Rate 13.98 13.78 13.00 11.99 11.12 Weighted Average Deposit Rate 6.12 5.61 3.70 2.55 2.17 Weighted Average Interest Rate Spread 7.86 8.17 9.40 9.44 8.95 BALANCE OF PAYMENTS (US $mn) Merchandise Exports (f.o.b.)(1) 382.1 475.7 603.6 621.7 607.1 Merchandise Imports (f.o.b.) 620.5 649.8 778.2 837.0 875.5 Trade Balance (238.4) (174.0) (174.6) (215.2) (268.7) Remittances (Inflows) 76.2 75.8 73.0 73.6 72.2 Tourism (inflows) 256.2 264.4 247.6 297.7 331.7 Services (Net) 182.6 200.1 169.1 218.1 223.3 Current Account Balance (84.6) (40.6) (19.9) (39.6) (80.1) Capital and Financial Flows 135.5 33.0 44.7 89.8 177.9 Gross Change in Official International Reserves 47.3 4.3 18.1 52.7 113.9 Gross Official International Reserves(2) 213.7 218.0 236.1 288.9 402.7 Import Cover of Reserves (in months) 4.2 4.5 4.3 4.6 5.0 Sources: Ministry of Finance, Statistical Institute of Belize and the Central Bank of Belize (1) Includes CFZ gross sales (2) Starting in 2005 these numbers have been revised to reflect only usuable reserves as defined by BPM5. P: Preliminary R: Revised n.a. Not available ANNEX 1: Select Indicators

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