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Several newspapers, including the Financial Mirror and the Cyprus Mail, reported last week on Cyprus’ projected GDP growth rate for 2009, as predicted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF’s recently published World Economic Outlook, predicted growth of 0.3% for Cyprus during 2009. While this may be far lower than the kind of economic growth  Cyprus has experienced in the past, in the context of the global economic downturn, it is pretty good and the highest in Europe. Most other European countries are predicted negative growth by the IMF.

Cyprus Finance Minister, Charilaos Stavrakis , commented on the IMF projections last Friday and added that, according to Ministry calculations, during the first quarter of 2009, Cyprus' growth rate will be ''quite satisfactory and close to 2%.'' He added that although 2010 will also be a difficult year, the government was keeping firm control of current financial conditions in order to minimise the cost to taxpayers and keep the economy healthy for the future.  For its part, the IMF is predicting a growth rate of 2.1% in 2010.

Speaking after a meeting to brief the private sector on an agreement between Cyprus and Russia for the avoidance of double taxation and to discuss the 2009 action plan for attracting foreign investments, Stavrakis said he was very pleased with the IMF figures. He added that it proved that the government's conservative and cautious measures were the right way to proceed because they had secured the highest possible growth rate in adverse external conditions.

Author: Anne Hall

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