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Puerto Rico’s economic activity shows slight growth in Jan-Feb ’21, but tumbled Y-O-Y

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Puerto Rico’s economic activity showed slight growth in January and February 2021, with 118.8 and 119.3 points, respectively, but took a tumble year-over-year with drops of 3.2% in January and 2.3% in February 2020.

Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank President Luis Alemañy said the Economic Activity Index (EAI-BDE) analysis period includes the months when the Island experienced the consequences of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, followed by strong aftershocks, coupled with the social and economic repercussions that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused both locally and internationally.

The EAI-BDE it is a coincident index that summarizes the general behavior of the island’s economic activity. The EDB produces it every month.

“After having discussed the report in detail with the EDB’s economists, Gladys Medina Claudio and Juan González, I have to say that it shows that the recovery is going better than what had been reported,” Alemañy said.

The EAI-BDE has a high correlation with the levels and growth rates of Puerto Rico’s real gross product, although the EAI-BDE is not its monthly estimate. Also, the Index is reviewed annually, during the first quarter of each calendar year, and all report results are obtained using seasonally adjusted data.

So, for this publication, the annual review corresponding to the years 2019-2020 was completed.

Alemañy, who has headed the EDB for a little more than months, said “The EAI-BDE average for 2019 was 122.8, which shows an increase of 1.6% compared to 2018, the second consecutive annual growth after five years with consecutive annual reductions.”

“However, it contracted 5% in 2020, reaching 116.6 points. In turn, the EAI-BDE average for fiscal year 2020 ended at 120.0, which translates into a decrease of 1.9% versus fiscal year 2019 (122.4 or + 6.7%). In accumulated terms, the average EAI-BDE for the first eight months of fiscal year 2021 (July-February) is 117.3, or a decrease of 4.8% when compared with the same period of fiscal year 2020,” he said.

 During February 2021, one of the four components of the EAI-BDE — non-agricultural salaried employment — increased 0.2%. Meawhile, the sale of cement, gasoline consumption and electricity generation showed decreases of 5.2%, 1.7% and 1.8%, respectively. These results were compared against the results for January 2021.

When compared to the same month of the previous year — February 2020 — cement sales increased 28.0%, while the remaining components decreased: non-agricultural salaried employment (-3.5%), gasoline consumption (- 12.0%) and electricity generation (-0.2%).

“The interannual results reflect the effects of the aftershocks of the Jan. 7, 2020 earthquake on the island,” Alemañy said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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