Cuban economy grows 4 percent in year of detente with U.S.

lunes 21 de diciembre de 2015 09:56 GYT

By Marc Frank

HAVANA Dec 21 (Reuters) - Cuban gross domestic product grew 4 percent in 2015, official media reported on Monday, as internal reforms overshadowed negative trends such as falling commodity prices.

The report did not refer to warming relations with the United States, instead mentioning that growth came despite continued sanctions.

Growth was in line with projections made a year ago, and Economy and Planning Minister Marino Murillo attributed it to improved planning and contracting with "all productive sectors growing compared with last year."

Murillo was speaking at a closed session of the Council of Ministers and the report focused on internal economic performance in the productive sectors, not services and external finances.

Despite market-oriented reforms begun five years ago, the Cuban economy grew an anemic 1 percent last year and, on average, 2.3 percent each year from 2011 through 2014.

The government says it needs up to 7 percent growth to attain significant development.

The report cited a fall in the prices of imports such as fuel and food, which helped growth, but did not allude to similar steep declines in the prices of key exports such as refined oil products, nickel and sugar.

The United States maintains a trade embargo on Cuba despite President Barack Obama's policy change toward normalizing relations a year ago. The report did not mention sectors that have most benefited from better U.S. relations, such as tourism and related services and remittances.   Continuación...