This Selected Issues paper analyzes the competitive threats to the tourism sector in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The paper concludes that the ECCU countries have lost competitiveness globally and vis-à-vis newly emergent Caribbean tourist destinations as a result of both price and nonprice factors. The short-term measures implemented by the countries seem to have been insufficient to prevent further declines in 2002. The paper also describes strengthening fiscal discipline through fiscal benchmarks.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
On July 17, IMF First Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger addressed a National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER) conference on the lessons to be learned from the Argentina crisis and how these can be used to raise the effectiveness of IMF efforts to prevent and resolve financial crises. Following are edited excerpts from her remarks; the full text is available on the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).
This paper studies the economic costs of hurricanes in the Caribbean by constructing a
novel dataset that combines a detailed record of tropical cyclones’ characteristics with
reported damages. I estimate the relation between hurricane wind speeds and damages in
the Caribbean; finding that the elasticity of damages to GDP ratio with respect to
maximum wind speeds is three in the case of landfalls. The data show that hurricane
damages are considerably underreported, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, with
average damages potentially being three times as large as the reported average of 1.6
percent of GDP per year. I document and show that hurricanes that do not make landfall
also have considerable negative impacts on the Caribbean economies. Finally, I estimate
that the average annual hurricane damages in the Caribbean will increase between 22 and
77 percent by the year 2100, in a global warming scenario of high CO2 concentrations and
high global temperatures.
Ms. Esther C Suss, Mr. Oral Williams, and Mr. Chandima Mendis
The paper reviews the development of offshore financial activities in the English-speaking Caribbean islands and takes stock of the size and status of these sectors today. In view of the heightened concerns of the international community about money laundering, the costs and risks to countries of having or establishing offshore sectors have risen considerably.
In March 2009, the Fund established a new Framework Administered Account to administer external financial resources for selected Fund activities (the “SFA Instrument”). The financing of activities under the terms of the SFA Instrument is implemented through the establishment and operation of a subaccount within the SFA. This paper requests Executive Board approval to establish the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC) subaccount (the “Subaccount”) under the terms of the SFA Instrument.