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Cuba says GDP to grow 1.4 per cent this year, down from previous forecast of 2.2 per cent

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HAVANA - Cuba has revised its 2014 economic growth forecast downward to 1.4 per cent, Communist Party newspaper Granma said Monday, nearly a point off previous projections of 2.2 per cent.

Economy Minister Adel Yzquierdo attributed the downgrade to lagging foreign income, adverse climatic conditions and "internal insufficiencies that our economy continues to confront," Granma said.

The downgrade came in a midyear report by the Council of Ministers.

President Raul Castro acknowledged that the adjusted figure shows Cuba's economy is not growing at the desired pace, according to Granma.

Yzquierdo said officials predict growth for the first half of 2014 will come in at just 0.6 per cent, and "greater dynamism in the second semester" is needed.

Cuba says GDP grew 2.7 per cent last year.

In 2010, Castro said Cuba's economy was in a critical situation and began implementing a package of economic reforms. They have included decentralizing state-owned enterprises, legalizing real-estate and used-car markets and allowing more people to legally go into business for themselves.

The czar of the reforms, Vice-President Marino Murillo, said in the Ministers' gathering that 467,000 people have registered as small-business owners or employees. Some 498 nonagricultural co-operatives have been licensed.

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