Economic growth on the rise


A “STRONG” WINTER tourist season has given the Barbados economy its largest amount of growth for several years.

In a first quarter review issued later than usual, Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell said the economy expanded by “an estimated 1.7 per cent” between January and March”. This is in comparison to the 0.5 per cent recorded in the same period last year.

And while the traditionally stronger winter season has passed, Worrell forecast 1.6 per cent economic growth for all of 2016, “mainly because of tourism and ancillary activity”.

“Long-stay arrivals were up seven per cent, with continued improvement in the [United States] and [United Kingdom]’ markets,” the economist said.

He also reported that retail prices “are estimated to have remained unchanged for the quarter”, while noting that unemployment for 2015 averaged 11.3 per cent, down from the previous year’s 12.3 per cent.

In terms of the outlook, he said, “The current forecast for economic growth in 2016 is 1.6 per cent, mainly because of tourism and ancillary activity. Summer airlift capacity is forecasted to be up 4.5 per cent, with increases from the UK and US. Total investment in infrastructure, tourism facilities and alternative energy is expected to be 23 per cent higher than last year.”

The governor also said Barbados’ international reserves were $938 million (14 weeks of import cover) at the end of April. The Foreign exchange intake received a boost from the  $102 million Brazilian company AmBev paid to Banks Holdings Limited shareholders in Barbados. (SC)


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