Liberian Economic growth slows on weak currency – By Evelyn T. Kpadeh

Growth has slowed drastically in Liberia on the combination of a weak currency, high inflation and low commodities prices.

The economy would have grown as much as 7 percent in 2014, but the damage caused by the Ebola epidemic reduced it to less than 1 percent, according to International Monetary Fund statistics.

But Liberia is expected to come back in 2015, as commercial gold production, manufacturing and a gradual resumption in construction are expected to support real GDP growth of 3.8, according to the African Development Bank. The end of the Ebola epidemic — the last two patients suffering from the disease were released from Liberian hospitals in December– will also speed economic recovery, the IMF said in a report on Dec. 22.

Nonetheless, experts warn that the collapse of commodities prices on the global market has badly hurt the economy, even as it recovers from the effects of the Ebola epidemic.

“There is low purchasing power already among the people than coupled with the high cost of goods,” commented Simeon Freeman, a Liberian businessman and political leader. “Things are going to get very difficult because nothing is happening with the oil market and the price of rubber and iron ores have that have dropped on the world market.”

Liberian Commerce Minister Minister Axel Addy told the press on Tuesday that the prices of country’s two major exports – iron ore and rubber, have dropped to over fifty-percent of the market price, putting extreme pressure on the mining industry.

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