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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Growth decelerated marginally in 2017, as the continued decline in CBI inflows slowed growth in construction. Consumer inflation was low, partly due to a small contraction in food prices. The overall fiscal balance remained in surplus but has deteriorated markedly since its 2013- peak, and the debt-to-GDP ratio increased marginally from the previous year. The current account deficit remains high and only marginally declined in 2017, as the decline in CBI receipts was more than offset by growing tourism receipts and a significant decrease in imports. Foreign reserves at the ECCB remained at comfortable levels, well above the various reserve-adequacy metrics. The banking sector has reported capital and liquidity ratios that are well above the regulatory minimum but has elevated NPLs and risks, including delays in completing the debt-land swap arrangement and loss of Corresponding Banking Relationships (CBRs).
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
A careful review has revealed significant scope to modernize and better align the MAC DSA with its objectives and the IMF’s lending framework. This note proposes replacing the current framework with a new methodology based on risk assessments at three different horizons. Extensive testing has shown that the proposed framework has much better predictive accuracy than the current one. In addition to predicting sovereign stress, the framework can be used to derive statements about debt stabilization under current policies and about debt sustainability.
Mr. Jose M Cartas and Artak Harutyunyan

Abstract

This edition of Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual and Compilation Guide (Manual) updates and merges into one volume methodological and practical aspects of the compilation process of monetary statistics. The Manual is aimed at compilers and users of monetary data, offering guidance for the collection and analytical presentation of monetary statistics. The Manual includes standardized report forms, providing countries with a tool for compiling and reporting harmonized data for the central bank, other depository corporations, and other financial corporations.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economic performance of St. Kitts and Nevis moderated in 2016. Growth moderated, reflecting the deceleration in tourism-linked sectors and contraction in manufacturing output, while still exceeding the average growth in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union region. Consumer inflation was negative, reflecting the favorable tax environment and low international fuel prices, but end-year inflation turned positive as these effects started to subside. Growth is expected to average at about 3 percent in the medium term. Inflation is projected to rise with the expected rise in fuel prices, remaining about 2 percent in the medium term.
Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia, Lu Han, Miss Marie S Kim, and Ms. Nicole Laframboise
This paper studies the role of airlift supply on the tourism sector in the Caribbean. The paper examines the relative importance of U.S.-Caribbean airlift supply factors such as the number of flights, seats, airlines, and departure cities on U.S. tourist arrivals. The possible endogeneity problem between airlift supply and tourist arrivals is addressed by using a structural panel VAR and individual country VARs. Among the four airlift supply measures, increasing the number of flights is found to be the most effective way to boost tourist arrivals on a sustained basis. As a case study, the possible crowding effect of increasing the number of U.S. flights to Cuba is investigated and, based on past observations, we find no significant impact on flights to other Caribbean countries. The impact of natural disasters on airlift supply and tourist arrivals is also quantified.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

KEY ISSUES Context. The new government that came to power in June 2014 inherited serious fiscal and external payments problems, including arrears to the Fund and other creditors, and unresolved banking sector problems. Moreover, public debt remains at an unsustainable level of close to 100 percent of GDP, while economic activity has been weak with output still well below the level reached at the time of the 2008/09 global financial crisis. Main policy recommendations • Implement fiscal measures equivalent to 2.8 percent of GDP in 2015 to tackle cash flow problems and achieve an underlying primary surplus of 3.0 percent of GDP by 2016 to address debt sustainability challenges. Underpin measures with structural fiscal reforms. • Use Citizenship by Investment Program revenues to pay down arrears and debt and fund bank resolution. The program should be managed in line with the high standards of governance and transparency set out in the law. • Move expeditiously as planned with the resolution of ABI Bank and support initiatives underway to strengthen the regional bank resolution framework, in particular, the passage of needed legislative reforms. • Improve competitiveness by moderating labor costs; increasing energy efficiency, including by better performance of the state-owned utility company; and improving the investment climate. Authorities’ views. The authorities broadly agreed with staff’s assessment of the economic situation and risks, and its recommendations to reduce fiscal vulnerabilities and strengthen the banking system. They were more optimistic about growth prospects for 2015 based on expectations for substantial FDI. They are opposed to increases in taxes and plan to focus fiscal efforts on cutting recurrent spending. On bank resolution, they wish to work closely with the Fund and World Bank to speedily address outstanding problems. They paid the arrears to the Fund and committed to timely servicing of Fund obligations. Data provision. Data provision is adequate for surveillance and post-program monitoring although significant areas for improvement remain, in particular on labor market statistics, measurement of arrears, financial information on state-owned enterprises, and national accounts by expenditure components.

International Monetary Fund
The safeguards policy aims to mitigate the potential risks of misuse of resources, including Fund resources, and misreporting of program monetary data. The policy, introduced in 2000, is an integral part of the Fund’s financing policies and complements other safeguards, such as program design, conditionality, and access limits. Safeguards assessments of central banks of the borrowing member are required for almost all forms of Fund financing, and are followed by a period of monitoring for as long as Fund credit is outstanding.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

This paper elaborates 2014 Article IV Consultation, Seventh and Eight Reviews Under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), and Request for Waivers of Applicability and Non-Observance of Performance Criterion for St. Kitts and Nevis. The discussions focus on strategies to secure sustainable growth through enhancing tourism, developing cost-effective energy sources, and improving the business environment. It states that the authorities’ commitment to their program is reflected in the 2014 budget, and their plans to save the bulk of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) application fees.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

This article is a report of the IMF Executive Board’s program for Antigua and Barbuda. The Stand-By Arrangement program was developed as a response to the looming fiscal crisis, which resulted in large fiscal deficits and debts similar to the global crisis. The program is approved to support fiscal adjustment, debt restructuring, reduction of arrears, and financial reforms. The program attained significant progress. The Executive Board takes this potential growth as an achievement in the global competition.

International Monetary Fund
The Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) has made significant progress in improving the quality and quantity of the macroeconomic statistics it produces and disseminates to the public. The Selected Issues Paper discusses prospects and challenges for credit unions in the ECCU. It reviews the current state of macroeconomic statistics, outlines progress that has been made, and identifies outstanding challenges. It also describes technical assistance to the region and presents the challenges for the production of macroeconomic statistics in small island states.