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Antigua expects growth in 2011

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Antigua expects growth in 2011

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WASHINGTON – The Antigua and Barbuda government has told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that economic activity in the country remained weak last year and it is hoping that there will be economic growth in 2011.
In a letter sent to the IMF managing director, Strauss-Kahn, the island’s Finance Minister Harold Lovell said that despite “adverse economic conditions” the multi-million Stand By Agreement (SBA) Antigua and Barbuda has with the international financial institution “has been strong”.
In the letter dated March 18, and posted on the IMF website, Lovell said that real economic activity remained weak during 2010, “but there are signs that growth will pick up in 2011”.
He said tourist arrivals in 2010 increased almost three per cent for the year as a whole, driven by a five per cent increase in visitors in the second half of 2010.
“However, in part, reflecting food and fuel price hikes towards the end of the year inflation rose to about 3.5 per cent in 2010. The external current account is estimated to have improved in 2010 owing to significantly lower imports as (foreign direct investment) FDI-related construction activity and domestic demand remained weak,” Lovell wrote.
He said despite these challenges, “we are pleased to report that performance under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) remains broadly on track. (CMC)