Cuba expects 1.5pc economic growth in 2019

Published: December 22, 2018 14:27:47 | Updated: December 26, 2018 14:00:40

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Cuba's economy is expected to expand 1.5 per cent in 2019 after a 1.2-per cent growth in 2018 which is below the government's previous forecast of 2.0 per cent, the country's economy minister has said.

The Economy and Planning Minister Alejandro Gil Fernandez said, "The economic plan for next year is based on the principles of spending the available financial resources which guarantee growth and development without increasing the nation's foreign debt."

The minister revealed the information at the ordinary session of the Caribbean island's parliament on Friday, reports Xinhua.

External financial tensions, tougher US sanctions and the impact of natural disasters were the main causes of the lower-than-expected economy in 2018, according to the minister.

Losses caused by hurricane Irma in 2017 and the rains associated with tropical storm Alberto in mid-2018 harshly impacted the country's monetary plan.

"Other negative elements were severe financial tensions to pay our debts abroad due to the lack of hard currencies," Gil Fernandez said.

Sectors including sugar, tourism, trade, agriculture, construction and exports are expected to rebound in 2019 after poor performance this year, he said.

Cuba is working on updating its economic model in a "complex scenario" marked by a setback in relations with the United States and "financial persecution" by Washington as it continues its six-decade-old embargo, Gil Fernandez said.

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