TOPIC: Shunning creditors, Iceland goes it alone as economy rebounds
Shunning creditors, Iceland goes it alone as economy rebounds
17 Feb 2014 17:57 #1
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Feb 17 (Reuters) - Iceland's government feels it can shun international investors while enjoying economic growth - witness its dismissive response to a $5 billion lawsuit over Icesave debts and a tough stance on paying bond creditors.
The centre-right administration, elected last year, has turned its back on talks to join the European Union, largely opting to go it alone in rebuilding an economy shattered by a banking collapse.
That had forced the nation of 320,000 to take an international bailout and slash public spending, but now the economy is growing at the fastest pace since before the crisis and better than many EU countries - expanding by 3 percent in 2013.
Meanwhile, the tough stance over creditors remains popular with voters despite capital controls that hamper foreign investment.
"There are no good reasons for Iceland becoming financially isolated, and we have seen things developing in the right direction," Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson told Reuters.
Foreign visitors have flocked to the island. Tourist revenues for the year to the end of September were 267 billion Icelandic crowns ($2.3 billion) up from 73 billion in the whole of 2008. Earnings from fishing and aluminium are up 60 percent and 25 percent respectively in the 2008-2012 period......