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Central Bank offers hope

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

Central Bank offers hope

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THE BARBADOS ECONOMY will grow by less than one per cent this year, according to Central Bank figures released less than an hour ago, but after that, the bank predicts economic growth will slowly take off.
All this, the bank says was based on expectations that the main engines of growth for the local economy – tourism and major private and public sector projects, many of which have been stalled, will get off the ground.
In a comprehensive review of Barbados’ economy last year which featured lackluster performances from most sectors, Governor Dr DeLisle Worrrell offered some hope for next year.
“Growth is expected to accelerate slowly from less than one per cent in 2014 to about 1.6 per cent in 2015 and between two per cent and three per cent thereafter,” the economist revealed.
And after suffering a significant falloff in international reserve levels that plunged the island’s import cover to worryingly low levels, the island’s main economic advisor to Government said reserves were now at 15 weeks of import cover or about $1 billion.
The bank disclosed that unemployment in the country edged up to an average of 11.2 per cent for the first nine months of last year. However, unit labour cost has risen steadily in nominal terms since the mid-1990s.
On the important area of investment in the country, the Central Bank governor said: “A conservative estimate of know private sector investments that may be expected to materialize over the next three years is approximately $2.2 billion.”
In his commentary, the Governor revealed that despite the litany of bad news on the economy, the island still “performed appreciably better during the current economic recession” contracting by three per cent between 2008 and 2013, while between 1990 and 1993 it contracted by as much as 14 per cent. (GE)