The Barbados economy has grown for the second consecutive quarter, but its future prospects, while positive, remain uncertain because of spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.
Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes gave this assessment Tuesday as he reviewed the economy’s performance during the first nine months of the year.
He reported in his third quarter media conference that the economy grew by ten per cent between July and September, when compared with the same period last year, having expanded by 5.5 per cent in the previous quarter.
“The improved performance was much stronger than in the April to June quarter, reflecting the combined effects of an expansion in private spending and the strengthening of the recovery in the tourism sector,” the economist said.
“However, for the first nine months of the year economic activity is estimated to have been approximately 3.2 per cent below the corresponding period one year ago.
“Arrivals remained below pre-pandemic levels, but registered their strongest quarterly outturn since the onset of COVID-19, as long stay arrivals reached 43 019 visitors compared to only 13 247 during the similar period in 2020,” he added.
The Central Bank is predicting that the economy will by between one and two per cent this year, and between seven and nine per cent in 2022.
However, Haynes stressed: “The downside risks to these forecasts remain significant, however, because of the impact of the spread of the contagious Delta variant and the slower than anticipated vaccine rollout, caused in part by vaccine hesitancy.”