• The Star Staff

Island economic index drops in May and June

By John McPhaul


Economic Development Bank of Puerto Rico (BDE by its Spanish initials) President Pablo Muñiz Reyes published data on Thursday related to the Economic Activity Index (IAE by its Spanish initials) for May and June 2020 indicating that the island’s index had dropped.

Muñiz Reyes said the numbers show a level of 109.7 and 108.8 in May and June, respectively, which represents month-on-month reductions of 3.5 percent and 0.8 percent and decreases of 10.2 percent and 10.8 percent when compared with the same months of the previous year.

These would be the third and fourth consecutive monthly declines after 20 months of year-on-year increases.

“Currently, the IAE-BDE analysis period includes the months from which the island experienced the consequences of a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, followed by strong aftershocks, complicated by the subsequent state of emergency decree due to the severity and scope that characterizes the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Muñiz Reyes said.

In accumulated terms, the IAE-BDE average for 2019 was 122.6, showing a 1.6 percent increase versus 2018, the second consecutive annual growth after five years with consecutive annual reductions. However, the accumulated average of the IAE-BDE for fiscal year 2020 ended at 119.6, which translates into a decrease of 2.5 percent versus fiscal year 2019 (122.1 or +6.1 percent).

In turn, the accumulated average of the IAE-BDE for the first semester of the year 2020 (January-June) is 116.2, which represents a reduction of 4.9 percent.

Finally, during June 2020, two of the four components of the IAE-BDE: cement sales and electricity generation, showed increases of 19.1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, while non-agricultural salaried employment dropped 8.9 percent and gasoline consumption dropped 30.1 percent. All results were compared to June 2019 figures.

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