In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
St. Lucia faces structural challenges that need to be addressed to raise growth durably and reduce poverty. Implementation of planned tax reforms is important to achieve fiscal sustainability. The government’s plans to accelerate tourism-related public investment carry significant risks. Competitiveness is a challenge, and structural reforms need to be accelerated to raise the economy’s growth potential. Strengthening the supervision of the financial sector is another priority. St. Lucia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Economic and social statistics need to be improved.
St. Lucia showed strong growth performance owing to its strong investment in tourism infrastructure. Executive Directors commended the prudent public debt management and sound banking system. They underscored the need for fiscal consolidation and steps to promote domestic investment and labor market flexibility. They appreciated the well-designed disaster prevention and mitigation framework, and urged the need to reduce unemployment, reverse the rapid rise in public debt, and encouraged authorities to improve the timeliness and accuracy of data for economic analysis and policymaking.
This 2003 Article IV Consultation highlights that after a contraction in GDP of more than 4 percent in 2001 and only a marginal expansion in 2002, the pace of economic growth in St. Lucia accelerated in 2003 to 3.7 percent, driven by a rebound in tourism of close to 17 percent. Despite the pickup in growth, the overall economic situation remained difficult in 2003, as an ongoing recovery in the tourism sector has not spilled over to the whole economy. Unemployment remained high, and bank credit to the private sector is declining.
St. Lucia faces significant policy challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Tomas. It is experiencing an urgent balance of payments need that would result in a severe economic disruption. The government is focused on achieving medium-term debt sustainability. The policies outlined tackle urgent rebuilding needs and appropriately aim to maintain macroeconomic stability. Executive Directors support the request for funds based on the extent of the damage caused, the associated urgent balance of payments need, and the government’s commitment to limit the increase in capital spending.
A technical assistance (TA) mission was undertaken by the Real Sector Statistics Advisor in the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) to St. Lucia during September 17–28, 2018, to provide advice to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on compiling supply and use tables (SUT) for 2016. The 2006 base year for the GDP estimates is outdated and does not reflect the current structure of the economy. In addition, there is scope to improve the input data and methodology used in producing the GDP estimates and to implement the relevant System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA) recommendations.
A technical assistance mission was undertaken by the Real Sector Statistics Advisor in the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre to Saint Lucia to provide advice to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on compiling rebased gross domestic product estimates. The CSO is responding to the needs of the Ministry of Finance for more robust and timely national accounts statistics. All the Gross domestic product by economic activity (GDP-P) compilation workbooks have now been redeveloped and revised current and constant 2018 price quarterly and annual estimates have been compiled up to Q3 2019. The incorporation of revised data on tourist expenditure for 2000 onward have also resulted in revisions to the GDP-P current rice estimates and real growth rates. The revised annual and quarterly GDP-P estimates were assessed, and several methodological improvements were implemented. Improvements were made to the constant price estimates by reviewing and replacing weaker volume indicators. Training on the methodological changes and compiling the rebased estimates has been provided. The training on methodological improvements included the use of the more representative employment indicators and various price indices discussed above; back-casting and linking techniques for the current price estimates and linking the constant 2006 price series with the constant 2018 price series.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
A moderate economic recovery is taking hold in St. Lucia. Favorable international conditions have contributed to improved demand for tourism, St. Lucia's main economic sector, and the external current account deficit has narrowed significantly. The authorities have made some progress in addressing a weak fiscal position. However, the financial sector continues to be impaired by nonperforming loans, public debt keeps rising, and unemployment remains very high, while external sector competitiveness continues to be weakened by an overvalued exchange rate, economies of scale disadvantages, and structural bottlenecks.
This paper discusses key findings of the Sixth Review under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility for Benin. Benin’s macroeconomic outlook is weaker for 2009–10, reflecting the impact of the crisis. The implementation of structural reforms needs to be accelerated to enhance the competitiveness of Benin’s economy and increase its resilience to exogenous shocks. The adoption of a comprehensive strategy for the cotton sector and the implementation of the public finance management action plan are welcome steps.
The statistical data on GDP, saving and investment, selected data on the banana industry, selected industrial production, consumer price index, monetary survey, summary operations of the Eastern Caribbean central bank, consolidated accounts of the commercial banks, summary balance of payments, value, volume, and unit value of major exports, imports and prices of petroleum products, merchandise trade volumes, direction of trade, selected tourism statistics, structure of public debt and effective exchange rate indices, and related economic indices have been detailed in this paper.