Cuba bounces back from recession in first half of year – minister

HAVANA, (Reuters) – Cuba’s economy bounced back from recession and expanded an estimated 1.1 percent in the first half of this year, driven by growth in tourism, construction and agriculture, Economy Minister Ricardo Cabrisas told the National Assembly yesterday.

The figure was less however than the 2 percent government forecast for 2017 in a country where traditionally activity slows in the second half of the year.

The Communist-run island’s economy slipped into its first recession in nearly a quarter century last year, as it wrestled with declining oil shipments from key ally Venezuela, a slide in exports and a lack of cash.

In his speech to the Cuban parliament that meets twice a year, Cabrisas said “this conjunction of accumulated problems cannot be resolved completely in the short term.”

He added the coming half year would not be exempt from tensions, according to the state-run Cuban News Agency.

The Caribbean island is struggling to pay foreign providers on time and seeking longer payment terms, Western diplomats say. The minister acknowledged liquidity problems in his speech.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s crude and fuel deliveries to Cuba slid almost 13 percent in the first half this year, according to documents from state-run oil company PDVSA viewed by Reuters.

The main bright spot in the economy, tourism, performed strongly in the first half of the year with the number of tourists rising 23 percent on the year, Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero told the National Assembly on Wednesday.

But U.S. President Donald Trump in June ordered tighter restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba as part of a rollback of the U.S.-Cuban detente, casting a shadow over the industry’s outlook.

Cabrisas said that besides tourism, construction, transport, communications drove economic growth in the first half of the year. Agricultural production was also positive, except for beef and milk, he said.

The minister added that the government had approved 11 new ventures, five in the Mariel special development zone, which Cuba wants to develop into the Caribbean’s main shipping hub, and six outside.

Since becoming president in 2008, Raul Castro has sought to update Cuba’s Soviet-style command economy, cutting the bloated state payroll, introducing reforms and aiming to drum up foreign investment.

The United Nations estimates the Cuban economy will grow 1 percent this year, in line with a 1.1 percent expansion on average throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Comments  

China invites Latin America to take part in One Belt, One Road

SANTIAGO,  (Reuters) – China invited Latin American and Caribbean countries to join its “One Belt, One Road” initiative yesterday, as part of an agreement to deepen economic and political cooperation in a region where U.S.

Brazil holds breath for court ruling on Lula’s future

PORTO ALEGRE,  (Reuters) – Brazilian politicians, voters and investors will find out on Wednesday whether an appeals court will allow the country’s most popular leader, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to run for president this year after being found guilty of accepting a bribe.

Chinese national latest murder victim in T&T

(Trinidad Express) A fourth killing has happened in less than 24 hours. The latest murder is the shooting of a Chinese national at his supermarket in Diego Martin.

Brazil’s death toll from yellow fever triples-WHO

RIO DE JANEIRO, (Reuters) – The number of confirmed cases of yellow fever outbreak in Brazil has tripled in recent weeks, with 20 deaths since July, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Pope ends Latin American trip with warning about political corruption

LIMA,  (Reuters) – Pope Francis celebrated an open air Mass for more than 1 million people yesterday, ending a trip to Chile and Peru marked by tough talk on political corruption but a backlash over what many see as his insufficient resolve to tackle sexual abuse in the Church.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×