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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper analyzes the competitive threats to the tourism sector in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The paper concludes that the ECCU countries have lost competitiveness globally and vis-à-vis newly emergent Caribbean tourist destinations as a result of both price and nonprice factors. The short-term measures implemented by the countries seem to have been insufficient to prevent further declines in 2002. The paper also describes strengthening fiscal discipline through fiscal benchmarks.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

The regional recovery is gaining ground, supported by continued low oil prices, the return to pre-2007 levels of tourism arrivals, and buoyant citizenship-by-investment receipts. Three failed banks have been resolved with no spillovers to the rest of the region and authorities have demonstrated improved fiscal management. Risks in the short run appear to be balanced but the region still faces many vulnerabilities that jeopardize the medium-term outlook. This year's discussions took stock of the progress made and the policies needed to address key vulnerabilities related to the weak banking system, high debt, susceptibility to natural disasters, and competitiveness.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

The fallout from the COVID-19 crisis is hitting ECCU economies hard. Tourism receipts (accounting for nearly 40 percent of GDP) have dried up, as tourist arrivals have come to a grinding halt. The authorities successfully contained the spread of the virus at the onset of the pandemic by largely closing the borders, but a reopening of the economies since the summer has led to a surge in COVID cases. The ECCU economy is projected to contract by 16 percent in 2020 and by a further near ½ percent in 2021. Fiscal positions have deteriorated sharply, and public debt is projected to reach near 90 percent of GDP in 2021 and remain at an elevated level for years to come. Headline indicators suggest the financial system is relatively sound with ample liquidity buffers, but nonperforming loans are expected to rise significantly. The outlook is clouded by exceptionally high risks, including from the uncertainty concerning the evolution of the pandemic.

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
This paper reviews the joint advice of the staffs of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP). This I-PRSP outlines the main areas envisaged to reduce poverty and the measures for the implementation of the full Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS). The full PRSP could improve on the I-PRSP by building on its strength of inclusiveness, strengthening its policy focus, including the link between policy and resource use, and elaborating a clear framework for the coordination and monitoring of the strategy.
International Monetary Fund
This 2006 Article IV Consultation highlights that despite the closure of the sugar industry, economic growth in St. Kitts and Nevis has accelerated. In 2006, the economy is estimated to have recorded its third consecutive year of strong growth, projected at 4½ percent in 2006, with good prospects for 2007. Although the current account deficit remains large, it has been mainly financed by foreign direct investment, and competitiveness appears to be improving. Fiscal imbalances have improved significantly, reflecting both policy adjustments and continued growth.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the GDP growth in St. Lucia reached 3 percent in 2017, sustained by robust activity in several sectors. Favorable external conditions, coupled with hotel expansions and the addition of new flights, generated a strong recovery in tourism, with stay-over arrivals rising by 11 percent, the fastest growth in the Caribbean. Backed by strong tourism inflows, the current account balance strengthened. Unemployment declined from 21.3 percent in 2016 to 20.2 percent in 2017, but youth unemployment remains high at 38.5 percent and labor force participation has fallen. The short-term outlook is favorable, but prospects beyond that are sobering. GDP growth is expected to remain buoyant in the near term.
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. External Relations Dept.

Industrial countries have made very different fiscal policy choices over the past 30 years, which have been manifested in differences in their budget balances, size of government (ratio of total expenditure to GDP), and composition ofrevenue and expenditure. In a recent IMF Working Paper, Politics, Government Size, and Fiscal Adjustment in Industrial Countries, Anthony Annett explores whether political and institutional factors can shed light on these differences.