In Brief - Belize & Jamaica

ECONOMY | IMF concludes Article IV consultation with Belize.  An IMF mission was in Belize from 8-18 April for its yearly review of the economy.  The review noted accelerated economic activity in 2012, with GDP growth of an estimated 5.3%.  This is expected to moderate to 2.5% in 2013.  The fiscal primary surplus for FY2012/13 is expected to come in at 1.3% of GDP, down from 2.3% in FY2011/12.  The IMF cautions: “Further improvement in the primary surplus is warranted to place the debt and financing needs on a faster downward trajectory.”  It urges spending restraint and “reversing the erosion of the tax revenue base”.  Strategic tax reform is needed over the medium term.  The IMF also warns: “The authorities needs to strengthen Belize’s external position in the light of the projected widening current account deficit and limited access to external financing.”  The current account deficit was 1.7% of GDP in 2012, up from 1.1% in 2011 due to a sharp fall in oil exports and higher imports of fuel and electricity.

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