4 January 2016
Issue number 853
This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s weekly Cuba Briefing publication.
President Raul Castro has told Cubans that lower growth will make 2016 a challenging year for the country.
Speaking on December 29 at the close of a meeting of the Cuban National Assembly, he said that while the island’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 4% in 2015, this was forecast to slow in 2016 to 2%.
He said that the slower growth reflected more difficult economic conditions as a result of falling global commodity prices. He told Cuban legislators that despite the continuing surge in tourism, the country would receive less for traditional export items such as nickel.
Noting that while the downward trend in oil prices was of benefit to Cuba as it reduced the cost of food imports, raw materials and manufactured products, the ‘economic war’ being waged against Venezuela and Bolivia – countries with which it had mutually beneficial co-operation – made it appropriate that Cuba maximise efficiency and reserves.