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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

Regional Economic Outlook, October 2019, Western Hemisphere Department

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The global economy has slowed, with important consequences for growth prospects in Latin America and the Caribbean. The slowdown in economic activity has been broad-based among advanced economies and more pronounced in emerging markets and developing economies, partly reflecting trade and geopolitical tensions. Global growth is projected to decline to the lowest level since the global financial crises, before recovering in 2020. More importantly, growth is projected to decline in 2019–20 in the United States and China, which are LAC’s two main trading partners. The ongoing sluggishness of global growth and trade is affecting export growth in LAC, posing significant headwinds to the outlook. External demand for the region remains subdued, with trading partner growth (including China, Europe, other LAC countries, and the United States) projected to decline in 2019, before recovering modestly over the medium term. Moreover, commodity prices (notably energy and metals), key drivers of growth in LAC in the past, are projected to decline with a likely modest negative impact on regional growth going forward.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

Regional Economic Outlook, October 2019, Western Hemisphere Department

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Article IV Consultation highlights that following the opening of a modern international airport, signs of an economic recovery have emerged, with increased direct flights from major cities in the United States and Canada and renewed interests from foreign investors in tourism projects. The overall fiscal balance has improved over the past few years, and the debt to GDP ratio fell in 2017 for the first time since 2007. However, despite these positive developments, St. Vincent and the Grenadines faces challenges in sustaining the growth momentum over the longer-term. Like other Caribbean economies, its high exposure to natural disasters, limited land, narrow production and exports base, weak business competitiveness, and limited physical and human capital constrain potential growth. The financial system remains broadly stable but has vulnerable spots in the non-bank financial sector. It is important to implement structural reforms to foster private sector activity, by improving the investment environment and strengthening physical and human capital.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that in 2018, Dominica’s output is projected to decline by 14 percent and to take about 5 years to recover to pre-hurricane levels. The fall in output and government revenue, coupled with increased expenditure for rehabilitation and reconstruction, will lead to a substantial worsening of fiscal and external deficits. However, signs of recovery, particularly in construction and the public sector, have already started to emerge. The risks to the outlook include the budget becoming financially constrained and unable to sustain adequate investment given high debt, limited buffers, weak revenue, and urgent needs for reconstruction spending. Other risks include financial instability stemming from undercapitalization of systemic financial institutions, recurrent natural disasters, and external competitiveness challenges.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Dominica’s recovery from Tropical Storm Erika (August 2015) has been slower than anticipated, with output growth of 1 percent in 2016, dragged down by a storm-related decline in manufacturing. Moreover, capacity constraints and unfavorable weather slowed public investment more than anticipated. Despite ample liquidity, bank credit to the private sector remains weak, although this is in part relieved by growing lending by credit unions. Growth is projected to accelerate to above 3 percent in 2017–18 on the back of a pickup in public investment and several large-scale private projects with citizenship-by-investment and grant financing.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Nicaragua’s social security system, which is projected to run out of liquid reserves by 2019, several years earlier than anticipated. To avoid burdening the budget, reforms to the system are urgently needed. A deep actuarial, economic, and operational analysis is needed to design a comprehensive reform program. Such a program must ensure that the defined-benefit, pay-as-you-go system can sustain itself for another generation of workers and that improved health care benefits can be maintained. A politically acceptable, pragmatic solution appears within reach. However, the authorities should act quickly to avoid a costly bailout of the system.
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, and Enrique Flores

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International Monetary Fund
The Executive Board of the IMF has approved a disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 2.075 million under the Rapid Credit Facility for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help the country manage the economic impact of Hurricane Tomas. The Board’s approval enables the immediate disbursement of the full amount. The late-October 2010 hurricane inflicted significant damage to agriculture, housing, and infrastructure. The initial assessment conducted by the government estimated the cost of damage at 5 percent of gross domestic product.