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Mr. David Robinson, Mr. Paul Cashin, and Ms. Ratna Sahay

Abstract

This book sets out the economic challenges facing the island nations of the Caribbean and presents policy options to ameliorate external shocks and embark firmly on a sustained growth path. While the countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union that are the focus of the book have enjoyed a sustained period of price and exchange rate stability, they have been buffeted in recent years by adverse shocks, including the erosion of trade preferences, declines in official foreign assistance, and frequent natural disasters. Strengthening their growth performance will require design of a multifaceted strategy that integrates the Caribbean with the global economy, facilitates an economic transformation from agriculture to tourism, fosters greater regional cooperation, and preserves macroeconomic stability. This volume examines the critical issues that are part of that process, including fiscal and financial sector policy, management of external flows, trade integration and tourism, macroeconomic cycles and volatility, and the economic implications of natural disasters.

International Monetary Fund

The objective of this paper is to analyze the growth performance of the ECCU countries since independence and the policy challenges they face to ensure sustained growth in the period ahead. Although tourism specialization may bring about higher growth, it could also increase volatility in growth by amplifying the impact of business cycles in source countries on the tourism sector. Low productivity growth is principally the reason for the slowdown in growth. High debt levels have been a major drag on growth.

International Monetary Fund

Real regional gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 6 percent in 2009, reflecting a collapse in tourist arrivals and foreign direct investment (FDI)-financed construction activity. The global financial and economic crisis has also exposed areas of significant weaknesses, notwithstanding reforms implemented by a number of member countries. Executive Directors concurred that the urgent challenge is fiscal consolidation. They noted IMF staff’s assessment that the real effective exchange rate (REER) appears broadly in line with current fundamentals.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper on the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) underlies key features of business cycles. To obtain new measures of classical and growth cycles, simple rules were applied to date turning points in the classical business cycle, and a recently developed frequency domain filter was used to estimate the growth cycle. At the regional level, the ECCU countries are facing two shocks, i.e., the depreciation of the U.S. dollar and the depreciation of the Dominican Republic’s peso. The countries of the ECCU have experienced modest erosion in their price and nonprice competitiveness.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper analyzes the income dispersion and comovement in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union region. It finds that incomes are diverging, with the Leeward Islands converging to a higher income level than the Windward Islands. The paper examines the macroeconomic impact of trade preference erosion on the Windward Islands and demonstrates the substantial impact from preference erosion on growth, trade balances, and fiscal positions. The paper also analyzes the size of the informal economy in the Caribbean.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper on the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) underlies key features of business cycles. To obtain new measures of classical and growth cycles, simple rules were applied to date turning points in the classical business cycle, and a recently developed frequency domain filter was used to estimate the growth cycle. At the regional level, the ECCU countries are facing two shocks, i.e., the depreciation of the U.S. dollar and the depreciation of the Dominican Republic’s peso. The countries of the ECCU have experienced modest erosion in their price and nonprice competitiveness.