Tsunami may spur economic growth despite deadly destruction: IMF

The tsunamis that slammed 11 Indian Ocean nations and killed an estimated 217,000 people could boost economic growth in hard hit countries thanks to reconstruction, the IMF said Wednesday. The tsunamis that slammed 11 Indian Ocean nations and killed an estimated 217,000 people could boost economic growth in hard hit countries thanks to reconstruction, the IMF said Wednesday. Growth in the tsunami-stricken Asian countries will meet or exceed pre-tsunami forecasts in 2005 with the exceptions of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the International Monetary Fund said in its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook.

“Because tourism and fishing account for a relatively small share of national economies, the direct impact of the disaster on total economic growth is likely to be marginal in most countries,” the report said.

However, “to the extent that reconstruction efforts are launched quickly, growth in the most severely affected countries is likely to meet, or may even exceed, pre-disaster projections.” The report did not, however, identify which countries’ growth might exceed pre-tsunami projections.

Tourism was one of the most badly damaged sectors in the December 26 tsunami that batter