IMF predicts economic growth for St Kitts-Nevis

An IMF mission Friday ended a three-day visit to the twin island Federation conducting reviews of the three-year US$84-million Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) the country has with the Washington-based financial lending institution.

The IMF team headed by Judith Gold said that there has been considerable progress under the authorities’ economic reform programme, noting that after a four-year contraction of economic activity there were firm signs of a recovery in 2013.

It said that Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 1.7 per cent with a pickup in tourism and construction, notwithstanding declines in the manufacturing and communications sectors. Employment also showed signs of improvement with the number of total employees up by 10.2 per cent and wages up by 5.1 per cent in the first half of 2013. Inflation has remained low at 0.6 per cent.

Gold said notwithstanding the challenges associated with the prolonged recession and the debt restructuring, the financial system has remained stable.

She said the recovery in tourism receipts and strong increase in Citizenship by Investment (CBI) application fees contributed to a narrowing of the current account deficit from over 20 per cent prior to 2011 to about 11-12 per cent in 2012 and 2013.

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