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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.

Mr. Alfred Schipke, Aliona Cebotari, and Ms. Nita Thacker

Abstract

The Eastern Caribbean Economic and Currency Union (OECS/ECCU) is one of four currency unions in the world. As in other parts of the world in the aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis, the region is at a crossroads, facing the major challenges of creating jobs, making growth more inclusive, reforming the banking system, and managing volatility, while grappling with high public debt and persistent low economic growth. Policymakers have the critical task of implementing strong reforms to strengthen the monetary union while also laying the foundation for accelerating growth. This Handbook provides a comprehensive analysis of the key issues in the OECS/ECCU, including its organization and economic and financial sector linkages, and provides policy recommendations to foster economic 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. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses Grenada’s Fifth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), Request for Modification of Performance Criteria, and Financing Assurances review. Overall program implementation remains solid. All quantitative performance criteria for the Fifth Review were met. Some structural benchmarks have been delayed, but there has been corrective action. The authorities have advanced reforms to strengthen tax administration, improve public finance management, and bolster the business environment. The IMF staff supports the completion of the Fifth Review under the ECF arrangement.
International Monetary Fund
The Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) countries’ economies are heavily dependent on the United States for foreign direct investment, mainly in the tourism sector. The Selected Issues paper discusses economic development and policies of the ECCU. About one-third of the stayover tourists to the ECCU countries are from the United States., the top tourist-source country. The flow of remittances is also an important channel of influence, reflecting the significant proportion of Caribbean migrants living in the United States.
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 paper assesses the evolution of Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) real exchange rates over time, and examines whether the region has lost competitiveness. The main finding is that there is little evidence of overvaluation of the Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar. The relationship summarized above permits the calculation of equilibrium current account balances or norms. The financing of ECCU current account imbalances appears stable. This paper also provides evidence on the distinctive impact that tourism plays in the determination of the real exchange rate in tourism-driven economies.
International Monetary Fund
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.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses measures to enhance resilience to climate and natural disasters in Seychelles. Rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns, increasingly intense and frequent tropical cyclones, and massive coral bleaching are compounding economic and social risks in Seychelles. A policy mix focused on combining adaptation and mitigation strategies is ideal for Seychelles. Such policies should not only be aligned with Seychelles’ Nationally Determined Contribution, but also with the technical and financial capacity of the government. Experience from other small states suggests that small policy changes can still have a significant impact. To the extent adaptation and mitigation measures are inadequate, insurance policies and innovative financial instruments need to be exploited further.
Miss Nkunde Mwase
This paper investigates the drivers of reserves in emerging markets (EMs) and small island (SIs) and develops an operational metric for estimating reserves in SIs taking into account their unique characteristics. It uses quantile regression techniques to allow the estimated factors driving reserves holdings to vary along the reserves’ holding distribution and tests for equality among the slope coefficients of the various quantile regressions and the overall models. F-tests comparing the inter-quantile differences could not reject the that the models for the different quantiles of SIs reserve distribution were similar but this was rejected for EMs distribution suggesting that models explaining drivers of reserve holdings should take into account the country’s reserve holdings. Empirical analysis suggests that the metric performs better than existing metrics in reducing crisis probabilities in SIs.