Puerto Rico economic activity advanced in August


Puerto Rico’s economic activity index for August showed improvements from July and from August 2020.

The index’s value was up 0.2% from July and up 3.3% from August 2020. August was the second consecutive month the index went up on a month-to-month basis.

“The recovery in economic activity continues but at a weaker pace,” said the Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico, which compiles the index.

“The economy is doing very well,” said Carlos Vazquez, chief financial officer for Banco Popular, which is Puerto Rico’s largest bank.

This is largely because of federal government investment in the form of Hurricane Maria and COVID-19-related aid, Vazquez said. A very strong tourism sector is helping the economy.

Puerto Rico has the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country, Vazquez said.

In August, three of the four components of the index went up both month-to-month and year-over-year. The exception was cement sales, which declined 6.1% from July and 13.8% compared to August 2020. “However, this comparison is with respect to the period when the construction sector resumed after the lockdown measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Economic Development Bank said.

Over the longer term the economic activity index in August was down 3.1% from August 2019 and 4.1% from August 2016.

Puerto Rico bondholders have kept an eye on the local economy in deciding how the bonds should trade in the secondary market.

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