Cuba says economic growth slowed sharply in first half

viernes 8 de julio de 2016 15:30 GYT
 

HAVANA, July 8 (Reuters) - Cuban economic growth slowed sharply to 1 percent in the first half of this year, because of lower exports and restrictions in fuel supply, Economy Minister Marino Murillo said on Friday, according to Cuban news agency Prensa Latina.

The figure was down from 4.7 percent in the same period of 2015.

The Cuban government had already forecast slower growth this year. Even so, it will likely struggle to reach its full-year goal of 2 percent, down from 4 percent in 2015, given the first half is traditionally the strongest.

Murillo was addressing the year-end session of the National Assembly, from which foreign journalists were barred. His comments were reported by official media like Prensa Latina.

"The official told deputies that the government was contemplating a cut in energy consumption during the six remaining months of 2016, without affecting the residential sector," Prensa Latina wrote.

Low global commodities prices are battering Cuban exports of nickel, refined oil products and sugar.

While no statistics are available, revenue from the sale of professional services to oil-producing nations such as Venezuela and Angola is also thought to have suffered.

The crisis in Venezuela is affecting Cuba's oil imports. Venezuelan shipments of crude oil and refined products to Cuba declined 20 percent in the first half of this year, Reuters exclusively reported earlier on Friday. (Reporting by the Havana bureau; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)