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.
A technical assistance mission was undertaken by the Real Sector Statistics Advisor in the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre to Saint Lucia to provide advice to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on compiling rebased gross domestic product estimates. The CSO is responding to the needs of the Ministry of Finance for more robust and timely national accounts statistics. All the Gross domestic product by economic activity (GDP-P) compilation workbooks have now been redeveloped and revised current and constant 2018 price quarterly and annual estimates have been compiled up to Q3 2019. The incorporation of revised data on tourist expenditure for 2000 onward have also resulted in revisions to the GDP-P current rice estimates and real growth rates. The revised annual and quarterly GDP-P estimates were assessed, and several methodological improvements were implemented. Improvements were made to the constant price estimates by reviewing and replacing weaker volume indicators. Training on the methodological changes and compiling the rebased estimates has been provided. The training on methodological improvements included the use of the more representative employment indicators and various price indices discussed above; back-casting and linking techniques for the current price estimates and linking the constant 2006 price series with the constant 2018 price series.
Mr. Balazs Csonto, Mr. Alejandro D Guerson, Ms. Alla Myrvoda, and Emefa Sewordor
This paper applies network analysis to assess the extent of systemic vulnerabilities in the ECCU banking system. It includes two sets of illustrative stress tests. First, solvency and liquidity shocks to each individual bank and the impact on other banks in the network through their biltareal net asset exposures. Second, country and region-wide tail shocks to GDP affecting capital and liquidity of all banks in the shocked jurisdictions, followed by the rippling effects through the regional network. The results identify systemic institutions that merit hightened attention by the regulator, as determined by the degree of connectivity with the rest of the system, and the extent to which they are vulnerable to the failure of other banks.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the GDP growth in St. Lucia reached 3 percent in 2017, sustained by robust activity in several sectors. Favorable external conditions, coupled with hotel expansions and the addition of new flights, generated a strong recovery in tourism, with stay-over arrivals rising by 11 percent, the fastest growth in the Caribbean. Backed by strong tourism inflows, the current account balance strengthened. Unemployment declined from 21.3 percent in 2016 to 20.2 percent in 2017, but youth unemployment remains high at 38.5 percent and labor force participation has fallen. The short-term outlook is favorable, but prospects beyond that are sobering. GDP growth is expected to remain buoyant in the near term.
Mr. Alfred Schipke, Aliona Cebotari, and Ms. Nita Thacker
The Eastern Caribbean Economic and Currency Union (OECS/ECCU) is one of four currency unions in the world. As in other parts of the world in the aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis, the region is at a crossroads, facing the major challenges of creating jobs, making growth more inclusive, reforming the banking system, and managing volatility, while grappling with high public debt and persistent low economic growth. Policymakers have the critical task of implementing strong reforms to strengthen the monetary union while also laying the foundation for accelerating growth. This Handbook provides a comprehensive analysis of the key issues in the OECS/ECCU, including its organization and economic and financial sector linkages, and provides policy recommendations to foster economic growth.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
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.
The statistical data on GDP, saving and investment, selected data on the banana industry, selected industrial production, consumer price index, monetary survey, summary operations of the Eastern Caribbean central bank, consolidated accounts of the commercial banks, summary balance of payments, value, volume, and unit value of major exports, imports and prices of petroleum products, merchandise trade volumes, direction of trade, selected tourism statistics, structure of public debt and effective exchange rate indices, and related economic indices have been detailed in this paper.
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.
The report highlights the IMF projections and estimates of St. Lucia's basic data indicators, its GDP by economic activity at constant and current factor cost, selected data on the banana industry, operations of the central government, operations of the consolidated public sector, monetary survey, summary operations of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, consolidated accounts of the commercial banks, structure of public debt 1999/2000–2004/05, selected tourism statistics, direction of trade, imports and prices of petroleum products, merchandise trade volumes, unit values, terms of trade, imports by SITC category, etc.