Economy records significant growth-report

GEORGETOWN, Guyana: The Guyanese economy has achieved real economic growth of 5.9 per cent in the first half of 2011, according to the fifth mid-year report presented by the Finance Ministry to the National Assembly.

A statement from government said the growth is a continuation of the robust performance of recent years and, in particular, building on its previous achievement of five consecutive years of positive growth since 2006.

Underlying this overall expansion in real gross domestic product in the first half was growth in the non-sugar sectors of five per cent, while the sugar sector also contributed to the overall acceleration in growth.

The report stated that, “as a result of this performance, and given updated outlooks for the various productive sectors, the economy is now projected to grow by 5.1 per cent in 2011 with non-sugar growth projected at 3.4 per cent, an upward revision from the original projections of 4.6 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively at the time of Budget 2011.”

Government says it remains committed to maintaining macro-economic stability and the maintenance of momentum in its transformational efforts, notwithstanding an often hostile global environment, is testimony to the economic resilience achieved as a result of a disciplined policy stance and sustained implementation of a sound and responsible policy framework.

The rice industry continued its successes of recent years into the first half of 2011, coming off a remarkable production performance in 2010. The 2011 first crop rice production at 207,514 tons was 23.3 per cent higher than the corresponding period in 2010 and the highest first crop in the industry’s history.

This growth in production was attributed mainly to significantly improved drainage and irrigation as a result of government investment, the development of a new and more tolerant rice strain by the Guyana Rice Development Board, higher yields and, most importantly, a higher acreage of paddy planted.

In addition, production of bauxite reached a total of 815,505 tons at the half year, an increase of 38.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2010. The composition of the industry’s output, a higher proportion of lower grade to higher grade product, converts into a sub-sector growth of 13.8 per cent. With this production mix expected to continue during the second half, the expected growth rate for value added in the bauxite industry is now projected at 13.4 per cent.

Total gold production in the first half of 2011 was 163,413 ounces, an increase of 14.9 per cent over 2010. With gold prices hovering firmly above US$1,500 per ounce and approaching US$1,800 per ounce in the post mid-year period, there is every incentive to invest and operate in the industry.

Gold production for the year is now projected to reach 320,000 ounces, resulting in an upward revision in the industry’s projected growth from 2.9 per cent to 3.7 per cent.

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