The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the St. Lucian economy has returned to growth after experiencing a recession in 2012 and close to zero growth in 2013.

The Washington-based financial institution said that the growth was based on strong tourism inflows and lower oil prices and that growth domestic product (GDP) reached 0.5 per cent in 2014.

Nevertheless, debt continued to rise to almost 80 percent of GDP reflecting non-concessional interest rates and low growth.”

The IMF said that despite moderate economic recovery, unemployment rose to 24.4 per cent in 2014. It said youth unemployment, in particular, reached 41.8 per cent.

The IMF said that while it welcomed the recent uptick in economic activity and the positive short-term outlook on the back of stronger tourist arrivals and lower oil prices, unaddressed vulnerabilities were holding back the pace of the recovery.

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