Central bank: rising inflation, a challenge | Local company

The Central Bank warned yesterday that rising prices, especially imported inflation, will pose a challenge to the economy in 2022.

Outlining the outlook for this year in its January Economic Bulletin, the Central Bank said: “The international shortage of shipping containers, rising shipping costs (freight and insurance) are expected to persist into the early months of 2022, along with some pressure on prices. international agricultural raw materials.

“The widely expected rise in interest rates in the United States and other regions will also figure into the calibration of domestic monetary policy and affect public sector debt dynamics.”

The report says that following the extended shutdowns in 2021, Trinidad and Tobago is expected to grow in 2022 and the growth is expected to be quite broad.

The Economic Bulletin indicated that on the energy front, higher natural gas production is expected, as several projects undertaken by major players are expected to come on stream in the first half of 2022.

“Full-year output in non-energy sectors will also exceed 2021 levels once there are no major reversals to significant restrictions on mobility,” the central bank said, adding that, in the At the same time, “the nature of business will evolve in the direction of more electronic transactions and less on-site activities, which poses a challenge to the survival of some companies that are slow to adapt.

According to the Central Bank, while there was a recovery in commercial activity at the end of 2021 after a long period of confinement, “the information available for the third quarter of 2021 nevertheless showed a decline in the quarterly index of activity. Central Bank real economic growth (2012=100) by 3.0% compared to the corresponding period of 2020.”

The report said the decline was largely attributable to a 3.5% drop in non-energy sector output, while activity in the energy sector fell 1.9%.

Rising debt

The Central Bank report also indicates that the stock of general government debt rose 9.4% to $130.3 billion in December 2021 from $119.1 billion in December 2020.

As a result, T&T’s debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 79.8% in December 2020 to 83.3% in December 2021.

The January 2022 Economic Bulletin stated: “The stock of central government domestic debt (excluding sterilized debt) increased to $67.4 billion.

(43.0% of GDP) at the end of December 2021, compared to 64.4 billion dollars recorded at the end of September 2021.

“During the three-month period, approximately $4.2 billion was disbursed under the Development Loans Act and was used primarily for budget support ($4.1 billion), while Another $500 million in debt management bills were borrowed. Principal repayments during the period included $1.2 billion for debt incurred under the Development Loans Act.

“In contrast, the stock of central government external debt increased to $4.8 billion (20.5% of GDP) in December 2021, mainly due to the partial disbursement of two loans in December 2021, d amount of 159.2 million dollars, by the Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF).

According to the Central Bank, T&T’s gross official reserves fell to $6,879.6 million at the end of 2021, down $74.2 million from the level recorded at the end of 2020.

“This suggests that the external accounts recorded an overall deficit over the twelve months of 2021,” the Central Bank said, pointing out that “the stock of international reserves at the end of 2021 represents 8.4 months of forecast imports of goods and services. “.