Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 24th 2014 Contents JULY 2014 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG9
than output of 5.5 million tonnes in 2012.
Given the trend in production, there was a
related decline in the international shipments
of fertilisers, which fell to 4.7 million tonnes,
some 5.7 per cent below the volumes achieved
In 2013, there was some improvement in
the production of DRI (direct reduced iron)
following the maintenance work of the previous
year, the AES said. Accordingly, output of DRI
expanded by 3.9 per cent compared with an
output of 1.68 million tonnes in 2012. Exports
of DRI for the year followed a similar trend,
increasing by 3.5 per cent.
Billet production, however, experienced a
small decline of 1.3 per cent in 2013, while
exports at 172,300 tonnes represented a decline
of 34 per cent below the 2012 period. In line
with the lower billet production, output of
wire rods fell by 25 per cent in 2013.
The survey also covered unemployment
and inflation. According to the latest available
data from the Central Statistical Office (CSO),
the unemployment rate fell to an unprece-
dented low of 3.7 per cent in the first quarter
of 2013. This compares with an unemploy-
ment rate of 5.4 per cent in the first quarter
of 2012 and an average of 5.0 per cent for
the year as a whole.
The AES did not say why unemployment
went down, although the International Mon-
etary Fund (IMF) in its most recent post-
Article IV Consultation release is on record
saying it is due to make-work programmes.
Instead, the AES stated the obvious: "The
fall in the unemployment rate in early 2013
was mainly attributable to an increase in the
labour force, due to a rise in the number of
persons with jobs."
The labour force increased by 32,200 per-
sons to 655,700 persons in the first quarter
of 2013. The number of persons with jobs
increased by 41,900 to the end of March
2013. Job growth was strongest in other serv-
ices (23,400 persons), construction (12,500
people) and manufacturing (4,700 people)
"With labour conditions tightening, short-
ages were reported in the manufacturing and
services sectors which had difficulty in finding
workers who were available, adequately skilled
and with the requisite experience," the AES
Finance sector retrenched the most
In the absence of updated official labour
market statistics, supplementary information
such as retrenchment notices filed with the
Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro
Enterprise Development are used as an indi-
cator of labour market performance, the AES
While unemployment trended downward
in the first quarter of 2013, retrenchment
notices during 2013 increased by almost 14
per cent compared to 2012. The finance sector
accounted for more than 25 per cent of the
notices filed, while 16 per cent came from
the petroleum sector and just over 11 per cent
from the distribution sector.
Caroni Green helped ease inflation
The domestic economy experienced gen-
erally lower inflationary pressures in 2013,
the survey said. Headline inflation slowed to
5.2 per cent in 2013 from 9.3 per cent in 2012.
At the start of January 2013, headline inflation
stood at 7.3 per cent (year-on-year) before
slowing to a low of 2.7 per cent in October
and then rising to 5.6 per cent in December
2013, the AES said.
Core inflation remained relatively subdued
in 2013, ranging within a narrow band of 1.9
per cent and 3.1 per cent. An easing in food
prices led to the slow down in headline infla-
Food inflation rose by 8.7 per cent in 2013,
much slower than the acceleration of 19.1
per cent in 2012.
"Increased domestic output, including the
Caroni Green Initiative, helped to ease food
prices in 2013," the AES said.
The domestic economy experienced gen-
erally lower inflationary pressures in 2013.
Headline inflation slowed to 5.2 per cent in
2013 from 9.3 per cent in 2012.
At the start of January 2013, headline infla-
tion stood at 7.3 per cent (year-on-year)
before slowing to a low of 2.7 per cent in
October and then rising to 5.6 per cent in
December 2013, the AES said.
Fiscal deficit doubles
The central government recorded a deficit
of $4.175 billion or 2.6 per cent of gross
domestic product (GDP) in fiscal year (FY)
2012/2013. "This was almost twice the $2.196
billion deficit (1.4 per cent of GDP) in the
previous fiscal year as the government kept
to its objective of stimulating the domestic
economy through expansionary fiscal policy,"
the AES said.
The non-energy fiscal deficit also widened
to $31.19 billion (19.2 per cent of GDP) in FY
2013 from $28.87 billion (18.9 per cent of
GDP) in FY 2012. Total revenue rose by 6.9
per cent to $52.66 billion in FY 2013.
While West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude
oil prices, on which the budget is predicated,
maintained an average of US$95.62 per barrel,
crude oil production slipped to 80,909 barrels
per day in FY 2013 as compared with 83,335
per day in the previous year, the AES said.
As a result, the AES said, energy revenue
fell by 0.4 per cent to $26.52 billion. Non-
tax revenue grew by 38.2 per cent to $4.29
billion due to receipts from a swap transaction
of $856.1 million.
This amount represented the return on col-
lateral of a US$250 million Eurobond. There
were also increases in taxes on income and
profits (12.3 per cent), the Value Added Tax
(6.9 per cent), goods and services (5.9 per
cent) and international trade (10.7 per cent).
"Meanwhile, capital revenue amounted to
$493 million, compared with $43.4 million
over the comparative period of 2012 as a result
of a $332.7 million receipt from the termination
of the Offshore Patrol Vessels Project," the
Total expenditure amounted to $56.83 billion,
an increase of 10.4 per cent from fiscal 2012.
In terms of recurrent spending, wages and
salaries increased by 28.8 per cent due to the
completion of several outstanding negotiations
such as the Water and Sewage Authority
(WASA) and the Public Transport Service Cor-
Similarly, transfers and subsides reached
$29.57 billion owing to higher petroleum sub-
sidy payments of $4.46 billion, the AES said.
Also, transfers to statutory boards and similar
bodies such as WASA, the Tobago House of
Assembly and local government bodies
increased to $7.16 billion as compared with
$6.1 billion one year earlier, the AES said.
Central government spending on the capital
programme climbed to $8.27 billion in FY 2013,
well above the $6.99 billion recorded in the
previous year as the pace of spending accel-
erated during the latter half of the year.
The AES said increased spending was pro-
pelled by major projects implemented including
the Accelerated Housing Programme, the Early
Childhood, Primary and Secondary Moderni-
sation Programme and the construction of a
Continued from Page 8
Finance sector filed 25%
of retrenchment notices
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