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Mrs. Ruby Randall, Mr. Jorge Shepherd, Mr. Frits Van Beek, Mr. J. R. Rosales, and Ms. Mayra Rebecca Zermeno

Abstract

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.

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.

Mrs. Ruby Randall, Mr. Jorge Shepherd, Mr. Frits Van Beek, Mr. J. R. Rosales, and Ms. Mayra Rebecca Zermeno

Abstract

Eastern Caribbean countries institutionalized political and economic cooperation through the establishment of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) with the Treaty of Basseterre in 1981. Two years later they set up the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), which replaced the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority. The eight member countries and territories of the ECCB are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which are independent states and members of the IMF, and Anguilla and Montserrat, which are territories of the United Kingdom,1 The six independent OECS states and Montserrat are also members of the Caribbean Common Market, CARICOM, established in 1973.

Mrs. Ruby Randall, Mr. Jorge Shepherd, Mr. Frits Van Beek, Mr. J. R. Rosales, and Ms. Mayra Rebecca Zermeno

Abstract

The establishment of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in 1983 was the culmination of a long period of monetary cooperation dating back to 1950 when the British Caribbean Currency Board (BCCB) was created (Box 2). The BCCB, which functioned as a currency board proper and maintained a foreign exchange cover of 100 percent of the currency issue, was replaced by the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA) in 1965, when the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) was introduced and pegged to the pound sterling at a rate of EC$4.80 = £1. Under the ECCA, the foreign exchange backing was set at 70 percent and then reduced to 60 percent in 1975. Following a series of depreciations of the pound, the Eastern Caribbean dollar was pegged to the U.S. dollar in July 1976 at the then prevailing market cross-rate of EC$2.70 per U.S. dollar. The parity has remained fixed at that level.

Mrs. Ruby Randall, Mr. Jorge Shepherd, Mr. Frits Van Beek, Mr. J. R. Rosales, and Ms. Mayra Rebecca Zermeno

Abstract

The goal of the money and capital markets development initiatives being sponsored by the ECCB is to create a “single financial space” within the Eastern Caribbean region. This is seen as the fulfillment of the objective set in Article 4. Section 3 of the ECCB Agreement requiring the Bank to “promote credit and exchange conditions and a sound financial structure conducive to … balanced growth and development.” The program seeks to achieve greater economies of scale in the region’s financial operations by integrating the regions’ financial markets. It also aims to broaden and deepen the financial markets and to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the mobilization of domestic and foreign savings to foster economic growth.

International Monetary Fund
This report analyzes economic developments in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the first half of the 1990s. Real GDP increased at an average annual rate of 5 percent in 1988–93, reflecting sustained growth in most sectors except for agriculture and manufacturing, which showed some volatility. In 1993, economic growth slowed to 1.4 percent as a sharp decline in agricultural production and in manufacturing activity only partly offset growth in the construction and tourism sectors.
International Monetary Fund
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.
International Monetary Fund
This 2001 Article IV Consultation highlights that in recent years, economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has diversified from bananas into services, mainly tourism, telephone and Internet-based marketing, and offshore financial services. However, the rate of economic growth declined sharply to 2 percent in 2000. The external current account deficit is estimated to have doubled to about 16½ percent of GDP in 2001 largely owing to a decline in banana export volumes, higher imports, and a slowdown in tourism receipts and remittances.
International Monetary Fund
This 1999 Article IV Consultation highlights that during 1990–98, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ real annual GDP growth and inflation averaged 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Tourism’s importance to the economy grew, and agriculture’s fell, with other sectors’ contributions remaining relatively stable. In 1999, real GDP growth and inflation are expected to slow to about 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively. The overall public sector surplus is expected to increase slightly about 1 percent of GDP.
International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews economic developments in St. Kitts and Nevis during 1995–96. Output performance was robust in 1996, showing a strong recovery from hurricanes Luis and Marilyn, which damaged the country in September 1995. Real GDP growth was 5.8 percent in 1996, compared with 3.7 percent in 1995, largely because of a strong rebound in agriculture and tourism and related sectors. Domestic expenditures increased an average of 10 percent a year over 1995–96. The increase in 1995 reflects a surge in both public and private capital expenditures following the hurricanes.