Western Hemisphere > St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper highlights St. Vincent and The Grenadines’ Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses a major challenge to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The tourism sector, a key driver of economic growth in the country, has come to a complete halt with ripple effects across the economy. The authorities have responded to the pandemic by swiftly implementing containment measures and a fiscal package, which includes an increase in funding for the health sector, various public construction projects to generate jobs, financial support to agriculture and fishery sector, and programs to support displaced workers and the most vulnerable. The authorities are committed to meeting the regional debt target of 60 percent of gross domestic product by 2030. Once the crisis has abated, they plan to reprioritize capital spending, contain the growth of the wage bill, enhance taxpayer compliance, and rationalize exemptions from import duties and value added tax on imports. IMF emergency support under the RCF will help fill St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ balance of payments needs. The IMF financing will also help catalyze additional donor support. The authorities are committed to ensuring transparency and good governance in the use of COVID-19-related spending.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper presents IMF’s 2019 Discussion on Common Policies of Member Countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). ECCU’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated from 3/4 percent in 2017 to 3 3/4 percent in 2018, reflecting buoyancy in the tourism sector, sizable Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) inflows, and a recovery from the 2017 hurricanes in Anguilla and Dominica, which were supported by large public investments in reconstruction. Fiscal deficits increased in 2018–2019, but they have remained moderate. Efforts are needed to streamline, and re-balance tax incentives based on clear principles consistent with international best practices. External imbalances are sizable and significant financial sector vulnerabilities affect both banks and non-banks. Growth is projected to gradually moderate toward its long-term average of 2 1/4 percent as the cyclical momentum normalizes and CBI inflows ease. These trends would also contribute to wider fiscal deficits, ending the downward drift in public debt dynamics. The outlook is clouded by downside risks, including a possible intensification of natural disasters and financial sector weaknesses.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and Vibha Nanda
Fiscal sustainability remains a paramount challenge for small economies with high debt and greater vulnerability to climate change. This paper applies the model-based sustainability test for fiscal policy in a panel of 16 Caribbean countries during the period 1980–2018. The results indicate that the coefficient on lagged government debt is positive and statistically significant, implying that fiscal policy in the Caribbean takes corrective actions to counteract an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. Nonlinear estimations, however, show that the quadratic debt parameter is negative, which indicates that fiscal policy response is not adequate to ensure sustainability at higher levels of debt. We also find that the fiscal stance tends to be countercyclical on average during the sample period. These empirical results confirm that maintaining prudent fiscal policies and implementing growth-enhancing structural reforms are necessary to build fiscal buffers and ensure debt sustainability with high probability even when negative shocks occur over the long term.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Article IV Consultation highlights that following the opening of a modern international airport, signs of an economic recovery have emerged, with increased direct flights from major cities in the United States and Canada and renewed interests from foreign investors in tourism projects. The overall fiscal balance has improved over the past few years, and the debt to GDP ratio fell in 2017 for the first time since 2007. However, despite these positive developments, St. Vincent and the Grenadines faces challenges in sustaining the growth momentum over the longer-term. Like other Caribbean economies, its high exposure to natural disasters, limited land, narrow production and exports base, weak business competitiveness, and limited physical and human capital constrain potential growth. The financial system remains broadly stable but has vulnerable spots in the non-bank financial sector. It is important to implement structural reforms to foster private sector activity, by improving the investment environment and strengthening physical and human capital.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that growth in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2017 is expected to remain relatively flat. The current account deficit is expected to narrow reflecting additional profit repatriation by telecommunication companies. The domestic banking system remains stable, but credit to the private sector has been flat. The fiscal situation is projected to worsen substantially in 2017 owing to a projected decline in tax revenue after exceptional receipts in 2016 and higher outlays for transfers, subsidies and public investment. Growth is expected to pick up to 2.1 percent in 2018 and reach its potential over the medium-term.
Ms. Kimberly Beaton, Ms. Alla Myrvoda, and Shernnel Thompson
This paper assesses the determinants of NPLs in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and whether a deterioration in asset quality may result in negative feedback effects from the banking system to economic activity. The results suggest that the deterioration in asset quality can be attributed to both macroeconomic and bank-specific factors. Banks with stronger profitability and lower exposure to the construction sector and household loans tend to have lower NPLs. Further, some evidence indicates that foreign owned banks systematically have lower NPLs than domestic banks, pointing to the presence of important differences across bank practices with an impact on asset quality. Finally, the results emphasize the strength of macrofinancial feedback loops in the ECCU.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This IMF Staff Report for the 2016 Discussion on Common Policies of Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) Member Countries highlights that the regional recovery in ECCU is gaining ground, supported by continued low oil prices, strong tourism arrivals, and robust citizenship-by-investment receipts. Risks to the near-term outlook are balanced, but growth in the ECCU continues to be hindered by weak competitiveness, banking sector fragilities, susceptibility to natural disasters, and large public debt. The Executive Directors have encouraged the authorities to press ahead with sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms to decisively address these issues and strengthen the conditions for robust long term growth.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ recovery from the global financial crisis was hampered by a series of natural disasters, sluggish global demand, and slow implementation of key infrastructure projects. Economic activity appears to have recovered in 2015, led by strong tourism inflows and a rebound in construction. Inflation has trended down owing to falling food and fuel prices. The new airport, now foreseen for completion in 2016, is expected to sustain the near- and medium-term economic growth. Real GDP is projected to expand by 2.2 percent in 2016 and reach 3.1 percent over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ economic recovery from the global economic crisis has been curbed by a series of significant natural disasters. These, combined with the economic downturn following the global financial crisis, have prevented the economy from returning to its long-term potential real GDP growth. The overall fiscal balance is estimated to have narrowed to 4.75 percent of GDP in 2014. After an estimated 1.1 percent growth rate in 2014, growth is projected to pick up modestly to 2.1 percent in 2015 on improvements in tourism and agriculture and enhanced implementation of much-needed rehabilitation and reconstruction projects.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
On December 24, 2013, a tropical trough system impacted St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The heavy rains resulted in severe floods and landslides, with damages and losses estimated to be equivalent to about 15 percent of GDP. With most of the impact falling on infrastructure, including bridges, roads and hydroelectric facilities, emergency relief costs and rehabilitation and reconstruction expenses are opening a balance of payments gap in 2014.