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.
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.
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.
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.
This paper reviews the IMF’s discussions with Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s (ECCU) regional institutions. Discussions focused on the outlook for 2003 and the policy responses needed to arrest the fiscal deterioration and to achieve consolidation over the medium term. Although the short-term outlook for growth appears weak given the external climate, the region can look toward benefits from deeper regional and global integration over the medium term. The IMF staff has also emphasized that structural reforms are needed to improve efficiency, in advance of new trade arrangements.
This paper estimates the size of the informal economy for 32 mainly Latin American and Caribbean countries in the early 2000s. Using a structural equation modeling approach, we find that a stringent tax system and regulatory environment, higher inflation, and dominance of the agriculture sector are key factors in determining the size of the informal economy. The results also confirm that a higher degree of informality reduces labor unionization, the number of contributors to social security schemes, and enrollment rates in education.