Zimbabwe cuts growth prospect to 1.4 percent for 2016

GMT 05:16 2016 Wednesday ,18 May

Arab Today, arab today Zimbabwe cuts growth prospect to 1.4 percent for 2016

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Harare - XINHUA

Zimbabwe has cut its growth forecast by half to 1.4 percent for 2016 from the initial 2.7 percent owing to a devastating drought that has left more than 4 million people, or 30 percent of the rural population, in need of food aid.

The Finance Ministry announced the revised growth forecast in a quarterly bulletin for January-March 2016 that was received by Xinhua on Tuesday.

"Despite the head winds facing the economy, growth in 2016 is projected to remain positive at 1.4 percent. This is notwithstanding the budget projection of 2.7 percent," the ministry said in the bulletin.

The ministry also revised downwards projected growth for agriculture to -9.9 percent from the initial 1.8 percent due to the El-Nino induced drought.

The government's new projected growth rate is in line with the World Bank which projected the economy to remain flat at 1.5 percent in 2016 due to drought and low commodity prices.

Zimbabwe's economy is agriculture based and its exports are dominated by mining and agriculture raw materials, which account for almost 80 percent of the nation's exports.

Tobacco is the top foreign currency earner in agriculture while gold, platinum, chrome and nickel top mining in terms of export receipts.

However, the prices of these minerals on the intentional market have plunged significantly in the past years, seriously denting Zimbabwe's export and overall growth performance.

The Ministry of Finance, however, was upbeat about the revised growth rate of 1.4 percent, which it said would be anchored on strong performance of the mining and service sectors.

During the first three months of the year, there was strong performance of gold production, with 4, 600 kg produced against 3, 811.4 kg during the same quarter last year.

The import bill stood at 1.328 billion U.S. dollars compared to 1.493 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2015 while export receipts stood at 626 million dollars compared to 716 million recorded in the corresponding period last year.

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