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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation explains that St. Lucia’s near-term growth prospects are favorable, supported by large infrastructure investment and robust tourist inflows. However, longer-term growth continues to be impeded by high public debt, lingering vulnerabilities in the financial system, and structural impediments to private investment. Diminishing policy buffers further weaken the country’s resilience to external shocks against the backdrop of aprecarious global outlook. Completion of long pending legislative initiatives, alongside stronger regional and domestic financial oversight, should provide banks with incentives to strengthen their balance sheets and increase the efficiency of financial intermediation. There is also a need to draw on supervisory and regulatory tools to respond to emerging risks from rising overseas investments of the banks and the rapid expansion of lending by credit unions. The authorities are recommended to should step up efforts to address the institutional, financing and capacity gaps in its climate and disaster response strategy. Supply-side reforms are needed to unlock potential growth by improving the business environment, reducing energy costs, enhancing labor productivity, and further diversifying the economy.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper provides an overview of Belize’s tourism sector and main achievements and discusses the country’s comparative advantages and bottlenecks in tourism. It also analyzes the impact of structural and institutional reforms on tourist arrivals. The outturns in tourism have significantly exceeded targets set in the authorities’ National Sustainable Tourism Masterplan (NSTMP). The implementation of the NSTMP reforms has supported the tourism sector’s expansion. In order to guide the development of the tourism sector, the NSTMP 2011 proposes reforms and targets to propel Belize into an internationally recognized tourist destination by 2030. The emergence of the shared economy business model has also brought new challenges, in addition to opportunities. The benefits of the peer-to-peer accommodation available to customers on digital platforms include the expansion of tourism product, service, and sector offerings; improved access to market; and opportunities for income generation. It is imperative that reforms in the near term should focus on addressing the impact of recurring natural hazards, infrastructure bottlenecks, fortifying the institutional and governance framework, reducing crime, and mitigating concerns relating to the shared economy.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Belize focused on structural reforms to raise growth and social inclusion; strengthening resilience to natural disasters; balanced medium-term fiscal consolidation; tax reform; and strengthening financial oversight and anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism actions. Public debt remains above 90 percent of gross domestic product, the current account deficit is projected to remain large over the medium term, and international reserves are just below three months of imports of goods and services. The pace of structural reform has been slow. Downside risks, including from slower US growth, natural disasters, crime, and renewed pressures on correspondent banking relationships could weaken growth and financial stability. Belize is adapting its tax regime in response to concerns from multilateral institutions regarding potentially harmful features. Sustaining Belize’s recent economic expansion, spurring private investment, and facilitating structural diversification hinges on strengthening the business environment.
Mr. Manuk Ghazanchyan, Li Zhao, Steve Brito, and Vivian Parlak
Tourism has become the main driver of economic growth and employment and the most important source of income in the ECCU. Preserving and, possibly, enhancing the competitiveness of the tourism product is key for these countries. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that tourism arrivals to the ECCU have been declining slightly while global demand for tourism is on the rise. The objective of this paper is to study the structural determinants of competitiveness for the ECCU, defined as the relative cost advantage over other touristic regions (Di Bella, Lewis, and Martin 2007). Using a gravity model, we show that proximity to North American and European markets is indeed an important competitive advantage for the ECCU. However, despite this advantage, and, in some cases, specialization in high-end tourism, regression analysis shows that arrivals to the ECCU are sensitive to relative prices. Our simulations show that mitigating supply-side constraints would improve the ECCU’s competitiveness and allow the region to regain global market shares.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights economic developments and policies in The Bahamas. The paper focuses on policies to secure fiscal, external, and the financial sector stability, and strengthen medium-term growth. It outlines that the authorities need to implement comprehensive policies to restrict the central government deficit and reduce debt to comfortable levels. It suggests that economic activity in The Bahamas is expected to pick up more strongly from 2014 onward as the U.S. recovery accelerates and The Bahamas starts operations. Also, investment is projected to remain strong in the near future.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for Seychelles argues that sound fiscal policies and smaller governments can be conducive to growth and help reduce a country’s economic vulnerability. Growth in Seychelles has been volatile and underperformed most small states from 1998 to 2005. Seychelles’s revenues, expenditures, and total public debt are higher after an improvement in 2003. Its fiscal balance has worsened and has been weaker in comparison with most small states for most of the period. Seychelles’s expenditure composition is most similar to that of low-growth small states.
International Monetary Fund
St. Lucia showed strong growth performance owing to its strong investment in tourism infrastructure. Executive Directors commended the prudent public debt management and sound banking system. They underscored the need for fiscal consolidation and steps to promote domestic investment and labor market flexibility. They appreciated the well-designed disaster prevention and mitigation framework, and urged the need to reduce unemployment, reverse the rapid rise in public debt, and encouraged authorities to improve the timeliness and accuracy of data for economic analysis and policymaking.
International Monetary Fund
This 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that after growing by an average 3 percent a year in 1998–99, output for St. Lucia stagnated in 2000, and fell by an estimated 5¼ percent in 2001. This reflected a severe drought in 2001, as well as lower tourism activity owing to the global economic slowdown and terrorist attacks of September 2001. In 2002, no growth is expected as tourism was weak, and tropical storm damage prevented a stronger recovery in banana production.