Friday, September 2, 2011

Guyana records 5.9% first half economic growth

Guyana’s economy grew by 5.9 percent in the first half of the year, building on the achievement of five consecutive years of positive growth since 2006 and giving a positive prognosis for end of year results.
The achievement of this level of growth in the first half was described by Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh as most commendable, and was reported in the 2011 Mid-Year Report 2011 tabled by the Minister in the National Assembly yesterday.
The report said that underlying this overall expansion in real gross domestic product in the first half of 2011 was growth in the non-sugar sectors of five percent, while the sugar sector contributed to the overall acceleration of growth.
The report said that, as a result of this positive performance and given the updated outlook for the various productive sectors, the economy is projected to grow by 5.1 percent in 2011. The report said that the non-sugar sector is projected to grow at 3.4 percent, revised upward from the original projection of 4.6 percent and 2.8 percent at the time of the budget of 2011. Export earnings expanded by 34.6 percent to US$533.1 million.
The report said export earnings from sugar increased by 32.4 percent to US$50.1 million, reflecting a 30.4 percent increase in quantity shipped to 99,738 tonnes.
The Mid-Year Report said that in the first half of 2011, the sugar industry showed tentative signs that the path to recovery has commenced.
“The sector returned a 2011 first crop of 106,871 tonnes, reflecting a 30.5 percent increase over the first crop of 2010 and the best first crop performance since 2004,” the report said.
“The industry continues to emphasize that if workers maximize the opportunity days available for harvesting for the second crop, the [target] of 298,879 tonnes is achievable,” the report said, adding that the recent conclusion of an agreement between the unions and the sugar corporation on wages and salaries for 2011 is likely to be helpful in achieving the target.
It said that rice continued its trend of successful first crops, with the industry coming off a remarkable production performance in 2010. The 2011 first crop was 207,514 tonnes, 23 percent higher than at the corresponding period in 2010, and the highest first crop in the industry’s history, the report said.
The report said that rice export earnings expanded by 35.1 percent to US$92.6 million, mainly attributed to a 26.4 percent increase in average export price to US$551.4 per tone, coupled with a 6.8 percent increase in export volume to 167,945 tonnes.
It said that the performance of the sector is attributable mainly to improvements in drainage and irrigation as a result of government’s investments, the development of new and more tolerant rice strains, higher yields and higher acreage of paddy planted.

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