A&B’s economy projected to grow 5.9 percent this year

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By Robert A. Emmanuel

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) released its annual economic report yesterday, forecasting a 5.9 percent economic growth for Antigua and Barbuda.

The report stated that Antigua and Barbuda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 7.4 percent in 2018, which was an increase from 3.2 percent in 2017, and the projected 5.9 percent GDP growth – the second largest growth projection by ECLAC – was only surpassed by Dominica, which has an economic growth projection of 9.9 percent.

Additionally, the report also highlighted that Antigua and Barbuda’s interest payments on government gross public debt has decreased to 2.1 percent of G.D.P from 2.4 percent of GDP in 2018 when the last reported figure of government gross public debt for Antigua and Barbuda was 64 percent of GDP as of December 2018.

This positive news for Antigua and Barbuda came amid a backdrop of global trade tensions and economic slowdown for major global economies.

The ECLAC Economic Study report showed a slowdown in economic growth for the Latin American and Caribbean region of 0.5 percent due to global uncertainty over trade and a weak performance in investment, exports, and consumer consumption.

However, according to the Trinidad-based ECLAC’s Deputy Director, Dillon Alleyne, economic growth strengthened across the Latin America and Caribbean region in 2018.

He said weighted average real growth in the region rose to two percent last year relative to minus 0.1 percent in 2017, and that among the fastest growing economies were Antigua and Barbuda (7.4 percent), Monserrat (5.2 per cent) and Grenada (4.1 per cent).

Grenada (3.3 percent) and St. Kitts (3.1 percent) also posted major positive growth forecasts.

Alleyne said an anticipated strong performance in tourism related activities, the construction sector, as well as robust results in the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes following the reduction in the minimum investment requirements for the CBI programmes by some OECS economies – with Dominica having one of the lowest CBI investment requirements – was driving this forecast.

This will mean that all 15 Caribbean economies assessed in ECLAC’s Economic Survey will post positive growth in 2019 for the first time since 2007.

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