By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh has announced that Guyana’s economy saw an overall growth of 3.2 percent in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first half of 2014.
At a press conference today [Saturday, August 09], Dr Singh also revealed that the non sugar economy grew by two percent. Given the improvement, the Finance Minister has now predicted an overall growth of 4.5 percent in the economy for 2014 and 3.6 percent in the non sugar economy.
He explained that while a few sectors continue to perform exceptionally, the Gold Industry continues to struggle. Despite many years of strong performance, gold declarations were lower by 17.2 percent compared to last year, Dr Singh told reporters.
Meanwhile, he noted that the rice industry continues to do well with another record rice crop of 312,283 tonnes during the first half of the year, while the sugar industry performed 66.5 percent – an increase from last year.
“The achievement of growth is a most commendable achievement,” Dr Singh said.
The overall balance of payments deficit improved to US$93 million, compared to US$145.6 million at half year 2013. Excluding gold, total exports grew by 4.3 percent to US$307.5 million in the first half of 2014.
Sugar exports returned US$34.4 million in earnings, a 26.4 percent increase. Rice export earnings increased to US$95.6 million, 14.9 percent higher than at June 2013.
Timber export earnings rose to US$21.3 million, a 31.3 percent increase. Gold exports earnings contracted by 24.6 percent to US$226.7 million.
Net domestic credit by the banking system to the private sector grew by 2.9 percent and credit growth was driven by the mining, construction & engineering and real estate sector which expanded by 10.3 percent, 7.6 percent, and 7.5 percent, respectively.
Credit to rice milling, other services and manufacturing also expanded by 6.4 percent, 5.4 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. The consumer price index has declined marginally from the December 2013 level by 0.4 percent, reflecting continued stability in major commodity prices in the domestic marketplace.
The non-financial public sector recorded a surplus of $1.7 billion after grants in the first half of 2014.
As at end June 2014, Guyana’s total external public debt stood at US$1.23 billion which was 1.6 percent lower than at the end of 2013.
At the end of June 2014, Guyana’s domestic debt stock stood at US$422.7 million which was 11.8 percent below the end 2013 position.