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– Central Bank says in quarterly report
The Bank of Guyana, in its Quarterly Report and Statistical Bulletin, said Guyana during the first quarter of 2021, recorded increases in the Agriculture Sector while the Forestry Sector contracted even as the country continues to benefit from oil production amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The agriculture sector recorded increased production of rice, fish & shrimp, sugar, eggs and poultry meat while the forestry subsector contracted. In the mining & quarrying sector, production of sand, bauxite, stone and gold were lower while crude oil and diamond production increased,” the Bank of Guyana said.
According to the report, rice production increased by rice by 79.9 percent, fish and shrimp by 9.2 percent, sugar by 0.5 percent, eggs by 0.4 percent and poultry meat by 0.1 percent.
“Rice production soared notwithstanding the adverse weather conditions experienced during the first crop. The fish & shrimp subsector managed to perform favourably despite the many challenges such as piracy and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Sugar output increased in the first quarter and was attributed to rehabilitation works at the functioning estates, critical investments in machinery by GUYSUCO and high workers’ morale during the first crop for 2021,” the bank explained.
However, the Forestry Subsector recorded a 12.3 percent decline in production during the first quarter of 2021.
The mining and quarrying sector also recorded lower output of sand, crushed stone, bauxite and gold which contracted by 82.1 percent, 37.9 percent, 33.5 percent and 17.9 percent, respectively.
“The decline in the gold industry was on account of lower declarations by one large scale mining company and the small & medium scale miners by 68.6 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively,” the bank explained.
It noted, however, that higher output of 82.8 percent and 44.8 percent were recorded for crude oil and diamonds, respectively. Crude oil production increased to 11 million barrels at end-March 2021, as daily oil production increased significantly when compared to one year earlier.
In the manufacturing sector increases were recorded in the production of liquid pharmaceuticals, nitrogen gas, oxygen, paints and alcoholic beverages by 35.8 percent, 31.8 percent, 23.3 percent, 22.1 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively.
On the other hand, declines were registered in the production of acetylene, ointments, tablets and detergents by 42.8 percent, 42.2 percent, 34.6 percent and 26.1 percent, respectively.
It disclosed too that the Construction Sector recorded positive performance on account of increased public and private construction.
“The performance in the services sector improved, albeit not to pre-pandemic levels, as the authorities commenced lifting COVID19 restrictive measures. There was increased activity in the wholesale & retail trade & repairs; arts, entertainment & recreation; accommodation & food services; transport & storage and financial & insurance subsectors,” the report further stated.
Notably, at the end of March, the inflation rate was 0.6 percent. According to the bank, higher prices were recorded in the subcategories of transport and communication, food, education and housing. However, there were lower prices in the categories of clothing, footwear and repairs and miscellaneous goods and services.
The overall balance of payments recorded a lower deficit of US$53.8 million compared to US$76.7 million for the same period last year. “This outturn reflected a reduced current account deficit despite a decline in the capital account surplus. The improvement in the current account resulted primarily from increased export receipts from crude oil notwithstanding higher import costs,” the bank explained.
It noted too that the contraction in the capital account was due to lower net foreign direct investments attributable to oil cost recovery by the Oil and Gas Sector. Guyana’s net international investment position (NIIP) was US$7,203.6 million at the end of March 2021, a deterioration of US$322.1 million or 4.7 percent from the end-December 2020 position.
The total value of transactions on the foreign exchange market increased by 7.2 percent or US$185.9 million to US$2,768.6 million.
Transactions in soft currency, bank and nonbank cambios and foreign currency accounts were higher when compared with last year, the bank reported.
However, hard currency transactions recorded lower values due to less receipts and payments when compared with the corresponding period in 2020.
“Moreover, total foreign exchange sales were greater than purchases by US$78.3 million. The Bank’s weighted exchange mid-rate, which is the reference for official transactions, was unchanged at G$208.50 during the first quarter of 2021. The overall financial position of the public sector, (which includes the Central Government and the Non-Financial Public Enterprises (NFPEs)), recorded a surplus of G$14,251 million, at end-March 2021, reflective of improved performances of both the NFPEs and Central Government,” the bank reported