This paper assesses the extent of regional financial integration in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) by analyzing equity prices in the region and rigidity of external financing constraints. The results are presented in a cross-regional perspective. The Caribbean stock markets are not as well integrated as one would expect from the extent of cross-listing and importance of regional banking groups: price differentials of cross-listed stocks reach an average of 5 percent. Auto-Regressive models suggest that these price differentials are only slowly arbitraged away, with half-lives exceeding 7 worked days, even when looking only at large arbitrage opportunities (using a Threshold Auto-Regressive model). A speculative methodology using macroeconomic data seems to confirm these findings. A strong mean reversion of the current account (respectively regional trade imbalances) is interpreted, following Obstfeld and Taylor (2004), as a lack of ways to finance current account deficits, i.e. a lack of global (respectively regional) financial integration. The region appears to be much less integrated than the EU15 or the ASEAN+3 groups, although it fares well compared to other LDCs.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The economy continues to recover at a steady pace, buoyed by strong activity in the oil and gold sectors, as well as public investment. In the wake of the January 2011 devaluation and concurrent increase in taxes, the fiscal balance shifted from a deficit of 3 percent of GDP in 2010 to a surplus of 1 percent in 2011. The balance of payment also strengthened significantly, boosting reserves to nearly US$1 billion (5¼ months of imports) at end-2011. With still-tight monetary conditions, 12-month inflation dropped to 3.6 percent in May 2012, from a peak of over 22 percent in April 2011.