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.
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.
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.
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.
As a reflection of the vulnerability to external shocks and the importance of large projects, gross domestic product growth has showed significant variations in the second half of the 1990s. The large public sector investments that have started in 1997 included the Leeward Highway, a new ferry and cruise ship berth, a banana irrigation project, and investments in health and education. During the second half of the 1990s, agriculture output declined—with output in 1999 about 20 percent lower than in 1995.
Mrs. Ruby Randall, Mr. Jorge Shepherd, Mr. Frits Van Beek, Mr. J. R. Rosales, and Ms. Mayra Rebecca Zermeno
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is one of just a few regional central banks in the world and the only one where the member countries have pooled all their foreign reserves, the convertability of the common currency is fully self-supported, and the parity of the exchange rate has not changed. This occasional paper reviews recent developments, policy issues, and institutional arrangements in the member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, and looks at the regional financial system, its supervision, and the central bank's initiatives to establish a single financial space. The paper includes a large amount of statistical information that is not readily available elsewhere from a single source.