Economic output up $5 billion in Q3 2021


Colm Imbert

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said Trinidad and Tobago’s economy saw a surge in output in the third quarter of 2021 of $5 billion.

Imbert spoke at a PNM policy meeting Wednesday night at the Diego Martin South Community Center.

He said a few days ago that the Central Statistics Office (CSO) had submitted its updated economic data for the country to the ministry, which reflects the third quarter of 2021.

“While I presented the budget for 2022 in October 2021, the CSO was only able to give us data until the end of June, (and) the data was not encouraging,” he said. . “Now they have updated the data, and what I see from these numbers is that there was a tremendous recovery in the TT economy in the third quarter of 2021.

“We haven’t got the numbers for December 2021 yet, but I dare say TT economy output was at least on par with what was on offer in Q3 – maybe even better, as the economy was opening up.”

Imbert said the economy grew in the three months between July and September 2021.

He said quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) for that period in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, was $34.6 billion. A year later, in 2021, it had grown by $10 billion to $44.6 billion.

“We estimated for the year that our GDP would be $150 million, but with those numbers it’s closer to $170 million.”

Imbert also said that due to the initial estimate of $150 million, the government was conservative and said its debt-to-GDP ratio for 2021 was around 85%. He said experts used that figure to say the economy would collapse.

“With these numbers, our debt to GDP numbers would fall below 80%, could go up to 75%. I want to see what they will say now.

Imbert said fiscal measures implemented by the government to limit the impact of the pandemic had led to “enormous growth”.

He added that the construction sector alone grew by almost 100% in the third quarter of 2021.

“We are in very good hands. (However) we have to face reality. We still have a huge debt. We had to do it to keep the economy going.

He said that in addition to borrowing, the government had also dipped into the Heritage and Stabilization Fund.

“That’s what it’s there for…We’ve funded your livelihoods and the services the government provides through a combination of careful management, borrowing and drawdowns from the Heritage and Stabilization Fund – and with all that, the fund is still in excellent condition after almost seven years.