Revised GDP Growth Forecast from 1.7% to 3.7% for 2017 unrealistic

Zimbabwe has now revised its 2017 gross domestic product growth rate to 3.7% from 1.7% on the back of an expected bumper maize harvest. According to state-owned newspaper The Herald, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told military officers at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare on Thursday that government has revised the country’s growth projections. “I anticipate after the revision, our growth to be around 3.7% from (the) 1.7% or so that we had anticipated in the 2017 National Budget,” he was quoted as saying.

Chinamasa said the revision in growth projections was on the back of prospects of a bumper harvest this farming season. “This good harvest, anchored on Command Agriculture expected this year, would spur economic growth,” said Chinamasa. He added that government is expecting 3 million tonnes of maize and anything above 150 000 tonnes of cotton this season. The new growth rate is now in line with the World Bank’s forecast growth rate of 3.8%.

The two growth rates are, however, in sharp contrast with International Monetary Fund projections of a 2.5% drop in Zimbabwe’s GDP. Analysts said it is highly unlikely that the new growth rate will be met. The floods that have engulfed the country, harvests might not be that great. “Our mineral earnings might also be lower as history has shown dollar and commodity prices have an inverse relationship,” said Harare-based analyst Walter Mandeya.

The US Dollar is expected to strengthen if the US Federal Reserve hikes interest rates.

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