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T&T economy slips

Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran (right) greets Scotiabank’s senior vice president and chief economist Warren Jestin, after being introduced by new Scotiabank country head Anya Schnoor (centre), following the presentation of the Central Bank’s Monetary Police report at the Financial Complex, Port-of-Spain yesterday.

PORT OF SPAIN — The Trinidad and Tobago economy experienced a decline that was “sharper than anticipated” during the second quarter of 2012, with the energy sector experiencing a “substantial contraction” of 7.3 per cent and with the non-energy sector contracting by 0.7 per cent, according to Central Bank data presented yesterday.

The decline of 3.6 per cent in the April to June quarter followed a decline of 0.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 and a reduction in output of 2.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. The data indicate that the local economy has declined in the last five quarters out of six, with T&T’s fiscally important energy sector declining by 7.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year and 7.6 per cent in the last quarter of 2011.

Despite the gloomy news, Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran said the Central Bank was seeing “some underlying signs of incipient recovery” during the second half of 2012, as “the available data that we have for the energy sector actually suggest that there is likely to be a return to growth in the third quarter”.

Based on the government’s fiscal stance of stimulating the economy, which he described as “broadly appropriate”, Rambarran said the Central Bank was projecting a one per cent rate of growth in calendar 2012, “possibly rising to 2.5 per cent next year”.

He said the short-term forecasts of growth in the second half of 2012 and into 2013 were based on three fundamental assumptions: That the energy companies would fully complete their maintenance programmes; that the industrial relations climate would return to some semblance of stability and that the Government must implement its public sector investment programme in a timely and efficient manner. (Guardian)

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