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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The fallout from the COVID-19 crisis is hitting ECCU economies hard. Tourism receipts (accounting for nearly 40 percent of GDP) have dried up, as tourist arrivals have come to a grinding halt. The authorities successfully contained the spread of the virus at the onset of the pandemic by largely closing the borders, but a reopening of the economies since the summer has led to a surge in COVID cases. The ECCU economy is projected to contract by 16 percent in 2020 and by a further near ½ percent in 2021. Fiscal positions have deteriorated sharply, and public debt is projected to reach near 90 percent of GDP in 2021 and remain at an elevated level for years to come. Headline indicators suggest the financial system is relatively sound with ample liquidity buffers, but nonperforming loans are expected to rise significantly. The outlook is clouded by exceptionally high risks, including from the uncertainty concerning the evolution of the pandemic.
Mr. A. E. Wayne Mitchell, Ann Marie Wickham, and Mr. Manuel Rosales Torres
The quality and stock of infrastructure vary widely across countries of the Eastern Carribbean Currency Union and are inadequate to achieve the desired higher growth and social development. Given relatively low investment rates in the region, one solution is to invest more. However this paper shows that governments can also narrow their infrastructure and service gaps significantly by improving expenditure efficiency and strengthening public investment management systems.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper presents IMF’s 2019 Discussion on Common Policies of Member Countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). ECCU’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated from 3/4 percent in 2017 to 3 3/4 percent in 2018, reflecting buoyancy in the tourism sector, sizable Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) inflows, and a recovery from the 2017 hurricanes in Anguilla and Dominica, which were supported by large public investments in reconstruction. Fiscal deficits increased in 2018–2019, but they have remained moderate. Efforts are needed to streamline, and re-balance tax incentives based on clear principles consistent with international best practices. External imbalances are sizable and significant financial sector vulnerabilities affect both banks and non-banks. Growth is projected to gradually moderate toward its long-term average of 2 1/4 percent as the cyclical momentum normalizes and CBI inflows ease. These trends would also contribute to wider fiscal deficits, ending the downward drift in public debt dynamics. The outlook is clouded by downside risks, including a possible intensification of natural disasters and financial sector weaknesses.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2018 discussion on common policies of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) highlights that the member countries are gradually recovering following the catastrophic impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Conditions remain favorable to growth, however, risks are increasing. The fiscal balance for the region as a whole worsened in 2017, reflecting lower inflows from citizenship-by-investment programs and higher reconstruction and current spending. The IMF team made several policy recommendations including shifting focus from the current emphasis on recovery from natural disasters to building ex-ante resilience. The report also recommends intensifying decisive and timely actions to resolve weaknesses in the financial sector, including longstanding problems in the banking sector and emerging risks in the non-banking sector. The authorities expressed commitment to the acceleration of key reforms to upgrade and strengthen the financial sector regional oversight framework. In addition to fiscal consolidation, injecting new vigor into the structural policy agenda will help enhance competitiveness and make growth more inclusive.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This IMF Staff Report for the 2016 Discussion on Common Policies of Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) Member Countries highlights that the regional recovery in ECCU is gaining ground, supported by continued low oil prices, strong tourism arrivals, and robust citizenship-by-investment receipts. Risks to the near-term outlook are balanced, but growth in the ECCU continues to be hindered by weak competitiveness, banking sector fragilities, susceptibility to natural disasters, and large public debt. The Executive Directors have encouraged the authorities to press ahead with sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms to decisively address these issues and strengthen the conditions for robust long term growth.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economic situation of St. Kitts and Nevis has continued to improve since the completion of the IMF-supported home-grown economic program in July 2014. Continued rapid inflows under the Citizenship-By Investment program have led to a surge in construction activity, and supported a large increase in government and Sugar Industry Diversification Fund investments and spending, including on the People Employment Program. These factors, together with the ongoing recovery in tourist arrivals fueled rapid GDP growth of about 6 percent in 2013 and 2014. The near-term outlook remains strong, but there are risks on the horizon.
International Monetary Fund
Real regional gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 6 percent in 2009, reflecting a collapse in tourist arrivals and foreign direct investment (FDI)-financed construction activity. The global financial and economic crisis has also exposed areas of significant weaknesses, notwithstanding reforms implemented by a number of member countries. Executive Directors concurred that the urgent challenge is fiscal consolidation. They noted IMF staff’s assessment that the real effective exchange rate (REER) appears broadly in line with current fundamentals.
International Monetary Fund
The Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) countries financial system has increasingly come under stress particularly through weakly supervised nonbank and offshore financial sectors with knock-on effects to domestic banks. The staff report focuses on ECCU’s 2009 discussion on common policies of member countries on economic development and policies. In response, ECCU authorities have accelerated the establishment of national Single Regulatory Units and the passage of harmonized legislation to strengthen then regulation and supervision of nonbanks and offshore institutions.
International Monetary Fund
Over the last decade, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) macroeconomic performance has deteriorated relative to the rest of the Caribbean. Tourism accounts for three-fifths of exports, and the import content of consumption and investment is high. The ECCB-operated quasi-currency board arrangement (CBA) has continued to deliver price and exchange rate stability. The region has strong social indicators, but poverty, health, and crime remain concerns. Despite the implementation of ambitious revenue reforms, limited progress has been made toward fiscal consolidation. Credit has continued to expand rapidly.
International Monetary Fund
This report focuses on the Monetary Statistics Component of the Regional Data Module Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). The report reveals that with respect to the prerequisites of quality and assurances of integrity, the legislation broadly supports mandatory data reporting and the confidentiality of the reported data. However, the ECCB’s responsibility for compiling and disseminating monetary statistics to the public is not clearly specified in the law. Regarding resources, the number of staff allocated to the compilation of monetary statistics is inadequate.