Central Bank: Trinidad Economy Grew Just 0.2 Percent in 2012

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - May 8, 2013

Above: Port of Spain (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Trinidad and Tobago saw GDP growth of just 0.2 percent in 2012, lower than its expected rate of 1 percent, according to Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran.

The shortfall was due in part to a weaker than expected fiscal stimulus, the prolonged Trinidad Cement Limited industrial action and the impact of the energy sector maintenance and security shutdown, he said this week.

He said the Central Bank was projecting growth of 2.5 percent for 2013. The International Monetary Fund has projected a lower rate of 2 percent, according to its most recent World Economic Outlook.

“With economic activity expected to pick up gradually over the course of the year, the Central Bank has kept its 2013 growth projection at 2.5 percent,” Rambarran said. “While recent incoming data suggest a rebound in natural gas production, the country’s two largest natural gas producers (BPTT and BGTT) are expected to continue major maintenance operations with a significant shutdown planned in September 2013 which could dramatically affect output.”

He said the government was working with each company to “mitigate the potential severe impact of the planned shutdown on the country’s economic recovery which is underway.”

“For the Trinidad and Tobago economy the Bank’s growth forecast continues to embody a gradual recovery, supported by the non-energy sector,” he said. “However, there are several risks to this outlook. Some of these are as follows: re-emergence of financial tensions in the Euro area; no consensus on fully resolving the U.S. fiscal situation; a longer-than-anticipated shutdown of operations at BPTT and BGTT; deterioration of the domestic industrial relations climate; and further delays in implementation of the planned fiscal stimulus.”

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