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Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mary E. Burfisher, Mr. Julian T Chow, Ding Ding, Fabio Di Vittorio, Dmitriy Kovtun, Arnold McIntyre, Ms. Inci Ötker, Marika Santoro, Lulu Shui, and Karim Youssef
Deeper economic integration within the Caribbean has been a regional policy priority since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the decision to create the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Implementation of integration initiatives has, however, been slow, despite the stated commitment of political leaders. The “implementation deficit” has led to skepticism about completing the CSME and controversy regarding its benefits. This paper analyzes how Caribbean integration has evolved, discusses the obstacles to progress, and explores the potential benefits from greater integration. It argues that further economic integration through liberalization of trade and labor mobility can generate significant macroeconomic benefits, but slow progress in completing the institutional arrangements has hindered implementation of the essential components of the CSME and progress in economic integration. Advancing institutional integration through harmonization and rationalization of key institutions and processes can reduce the fixed costs of institutions, providing the needed scale and boost to regional integration. Greater cooperation in several functional policy areas where the region is facing common challenges can also provide low-hanging fruit, creating momentum toward full integration as the Community continues to address the obstacles to full economic integration.
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.

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

Throughout the past 25 years of turbulence in the international financial system, the countries in the eastern Caribbean have enjoyed remarkable monetary stability. Indeed, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and its flagship, the ECCB, provide an impressive example of successful, long-standing monetary cooperation. The monetary and exchange arrangements maintained by the ECCB have served the region well, fostering confidence through stable domestic prices anchored in a peg to the U.S. dollar. The “strong Eastern Caribbean dollar” policy pursued by the ECCB has imposed hard limits on its ability to extend credit to participating governments. As a result, a premium has been placed on fiscal discipline, with most participating governments following prudent fiscal policies.

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 ECCB maintains open access to a common pool of foreign exchange and aims its credit policy at providing strong foreign exchange backing for currency issued, thereby supporting the fixed exchange rate policy. Under this arrangement, of course, there is no scope for monetary policy at the national level, the trend rate of inflation in the region is determined fundamentally by inflation in the United States and the other main trading partners, and market interest rates within the region follow closely world interest rates with a premium reflecting local conditions. While the region’s trading systems have been relatively open by necessity, until recently the capital accounts have been relatively insulated from the rest of the world by restrictions and, perhaps, geographical isolation.

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

Abstract

The growth of real GDP in the OECS region declined from 3 percent in 1997 to a little more than 2 percent in 1998, with real GDP per capita growing at just over 1 percent (Table 9). The utilities and construction sectors registered strong gains (Table 10), supported by substantial public sector investment and private residential construction in most countries in the region. Tourism activity in 1995–96 suffered from the damage caused by hurricanes in the fall of 1995, but the number of stayover visitors and cruise ship passengers increased markedly in 1997–98, aided by improvements in port facilities, visits by larger cruise ships, and greater marketing efforts.

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.

Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mary E. Burfisher, Mr. Julian T Chow, Ding Ding, Fabio Di Vittorio, Dmitriy Kovtun, Arnold McIntyre, Ms. Inci Ötker, Marika Santoro, Lulu Shui, and Karim Youssef
Abdullah Al Hassan, Mary E. Burfisher, Mr. Julian T Chow, Ding Ding, Fabio Di Vittorio, Dmitriy Kovtun, Arnold McIntyre, İnci Ötker, Marika Santoro, Lulu Shui, Karim Youssef, and Mr. Krishna Srinivasan

Deeper economic integration within the Caribbean has been a regional policy priority since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the decision to create the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Implementation of integration initiatives has, however, been slow, despite the stated commitment of political leaders. The “implementation deficit” has led to skepticism about completing the CSME and controversy regarding its benefits. This paper analyzes how Caribbean integration has evolved, discusses the obstacles to progress, and explores the potential benefits from greater integration. It argues that further economic integration through liberalization of trade and labor mobility can generate significant macroeconomic benefits, but slow progress in completing the institutional arrangements has hindered implementation of the essential components of the CSME and progress in economic integration. Advancing institutional integration through harmonization and rationalization of key institutions and processes can reduce the fixed costs of institutions, providing the needed scale and boost to regional integration. Greater cooperation in several functional policy areas where the region is facing common challenges can also provide low-hanging fruit, creating momentum toward full integration as the Community continues to address the obstacles to full economic integration.