Photo: Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s economy is projected to contract by 0.8 percent in the current fiscal year, which runs from July 2013 to June 2014, the government said.
The Puerto Rico Planning Board had initially projected growth of 0.2 percent, but said Friday that “uncertainty created by fiscal policies and different external circumstances” had caused it to reverse that initial forecast.
The agency in April had foreseen three scenarios for the 2014 fiscal year, and on Friday it said the most adverse one for the U.S. commonwealth’s economy was most likely.
The Planning Board also revised its GDP numbers for the 2013 fiscal year, saying the island’s economy shrank by 0.3 percent, up from an initial estimate of a 0.4 percent contraction.
It noted that Puerto Rico’s public debt rose to $64.76 billion in the 2012 fiscal year and estimated that the budget deficit for the 2013 fiscal year came in at more than $1 billion.
The report noted that uncertainty continues to hover around Puerto Rico’s credit rating, warning that a downgrade of the island’s debt would made it difficult for the government to make necessary investments.
The Planning Board also pointed to continued weakness in the employment market.
Puerto Rico’s economy is in a deep slump, with the unemployment rate hitting 13.9 percent in August, the latest month for which figures are available.