1. The authorities of Trinidad and Tobago thank Mrs. Gold and her team for the high-quality dialogue during the Article IV Consultation mission and for their candid and useful policy advice. They also thank the MCM mission team for the in-depth analysis and recommendations on the financial system.
2. Since the last Article IV Consultation in January 2009, the economic circumstances in Trinidad and Tobago have changed. Trinidad and Tobago was well positioned to face the crisis, having strong international reserves, significant accumulated savings in the Heritage and Stabilization Fund, and ample fiscal space. Moreover, the unemployment rate had fallen to only 3.9 percent at the end of 2008. As a consequence of the global financial and economic crisis, real GDP declined for the first time in fifteen years and both the fiscal and external balances turned negative. The collapse of CL Financial in early 2009 added further to the challenges. Following a year of subdued economic activity in 2010, the immediate focus of the authorities is on restoring growth while maintaining fiscal and debt sustainability.