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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Cybersecurity risk is embedded in the CBB’s supervisory framework, but additional enhancements are needed to formalize guidance and develop more intensive supervisory practices. Supervisory expectations on cybersecurity are presented in an informal guidance note, which should be formalized into regulation to ensure enforceability; and an IT/cybersecurity supervisory manual should be developed to promote effective and consistent practices. With its principle-based guidance note, the CBB highlights its priorities in strengthening the cybersecurity posture of Belizean financial institutions. The principles are an appropriate interpretation of international best practices on incident prevention, detection, response, and recovery measures, adapted to the cyber maturity of the Belizean financial institutions, and can be used as a foundation for the formalized guidelines. The manual could emphasize the review of cybersecurity strategies, policies, and responsibility specifications and should address obtaining assurance on the effectiveness of the financial institutions’ processes for cyber risk identification, assessment, and mitigation.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Belize’s economic growth has slowed over the last five years, following decades of outperforming regional peers. As in other countries in the region, a central challenge is exiting the cycle of low growth and elevated public debt. Belize’s 2017 debt rescheduling provided cash flow relief. In March 2017, the government reached a restructuring agreement with private external bondholders on its US$526 million bond (about 30 percent of GDP).1 As part of the agreement, the authorities committed to tighten the fiscal stance by 3.0 percentage points in FY2017/18 and to maintain a primary surplus of 2.0 percent of GDP for the subsequent three years. The authorities are delivering on these commitments and have made progress in implementing recent Article IV recommendations (Annex I).
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Belize’s correspondent banking relationships (CBR). All affected banks have found some replacements CBRs and alternative ways of processing cross border transactions. The analysis uses a dataset based on a bank-level survey and the IMF staff’s minimum scope framework. Pressures from the loss of correspondent banking relationships appeared to be easing. The US dollar continued to dominate CBR transactions, but its share has been declining. CBR pressures appear to be easing but risks remain. Risks include CBR counterparty credit risk and withdrawal risk, in addition to remaining supervisory gaps which could potentially add to CBR pressures. The importance of CBR in supporting economic activity and financial stability is highlighted in several studies. The results of the study results are consistent with the view that the recovery in CBRs in Belize will support credit growth and economic activity. Ensuring the availability and timely access to beneficial ownership of legal persons and arrangements established in Belize would limit the opportunity for their misuse and improve the transparency and the reputation of the sector.
Mr. Krishna Srinivasan, Ms. Inci Ötker, Ms. Uma Ramakrishnan, and Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne


This book provides a diagnosis of the central economic and financial challenges facing Caribbean policymakers and offers broad policy recommendations for promoting a sustained and inclusive increase in economic well-being. The analysis highlights the need for Caribbean economies to make a concerted effort to break the feedback loops between weak macroeconomic fundamentals, notably pertaining to fiscal positions and financial sector strains, and structural impediments, such as high electricity costs, limited financial deepening, violent crime, and brain drain, which have depressed private investment and growth. A recurring theme in the book is the need for greater regional coordination in finding solutions to address the Caribbean’s shared and intertwined macroeconomic and structural challenges. The analysis suggests that strengthening regional and global market integration of Caribbean economies would provide an impetus to sustained growth in incomes and jobs. Greater regional and global economic integration would also facilitate structural transformation and a shift toward new economic activities, resulting in more diversified and less vulnerable economies. A central challenge for the Caribbean is thus to come together as a region, overcome the limitations posed by size, and garner the benefits of globalization. Efforts should build on existing regional arrangements; accelerating progress in implementing these agreements would stimulate trade. Policymakers could also promote deeper integration with Latin America and the rest of the world by pursuing new trade agreements, leveraging current agreements more effectively, or deepening them to include areas beyond traditional trade issues, and developing port and transport infrastructure.

Ms. Kimberly Beaton, Mr. Thomas Dowling, Dmitriy Kovtun, Franz Loyola, Ms. Alla Myrvoda, Mr. Joel Chiedu Okwuokei, Ms. Inci Ötker, and Mr. Jarkko Turunen
The high level of nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the Caribbean has been, in large part, a legacy of the global financial crisis, but their persistence owes much to the weak economic recovery in the region, as well as to structural obstacles to their resolution. A comprehensive strategy is needed to address these impediments to sever the adverse feedback loops between weak economic activity and weak asset quality. This paper finds that NPLs are a drag on Caribbean growth and macro-financial links are strong: a deterioration in asset quality hinders bank lending and dampens economic activity, undermining, in turn, efforts to resolve problem loans. A multifaceted approach is needed, involving a combination of macro- economic policies to support growth and employment; strong supervisory frameworks to ensure macro-financial stability and create incentives for resolution; efforts to address informational gaps and deficiencies in insolvency and debt-enforcement frameworks; and development of markets for distressed loans. The institutional capacity constraints require coordination of reforms within the region and support from international organizations through capacity-building.
Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne, Mr. Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe, Mr. Thomas Dowling, Dmitriy Kovtun, Ms. Alla Myrvoda, Mr. Joel Chiedu Okwuokei, and Mr. Jarkko Turunen
Banks across the Caribbean have lost important Correspondent Banking Relationships (CBRs). The macroeconomic impact has so far been limited, in part because banks either have multiple relationships or have been successful in replacing lost CBRs. However, the cost of services has increased substantially, some services have been cut back, and some sectors have experienced reduced access. Policy options to address multiple drivers, including lower profitability and risk aversion by global banks, require tailored actions by several stakeholders.
International Monetary Fund
Correspondent banking relationships (CBRs), which facilitate global trade and economic activity, have been under pressure in several countries. So far, cross-border payments have remained stable and economic activity has been largely unaffected, despite a recent slight decrease in the number of CBRs. However, in a limited number of countries, financial fragilities have been accentuated as their cross-border flows are concentrated through fewer CBRs or maintained through alternative arrangements. These fragilities could undermine affected countries’ long-run growth and financial inclusion prospects by increasing costs of financial services and negatively affecting bank ratings.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes macro-financial linkages for Belize. The banking system in Belize is facing significant challenges that could have a negative impact on the wider economy. Under adverse scenarios, the loss of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) could have a sizeable impact on Belize’s economy and financial stability as fewer CBRs, different local banks’ business models, or stricter due diligence requirements could kick many economic agents out of formal trade and finance channels. Threats to the financial system, including those related to money laundering and terrorist financing, should be tackled on multiple fronts, including through closer coordination with regional and global public and private partners.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economy of Belize is facing multiple challenges. GDP growth slowed to 1 percent in 2015 owing to falling oil production and reduced output in the primary commodity sectors, and turned to negative 1.5 percent in the first half of 2016 relative to the same period in 2015. The decline in oil and other commodity prices led to deflation in 2015. GDP is projected to decline by 1.5 percent in 2016. The current account deficit would slowly improve owing to a gradual recovery in major commodity exports, but would remain high, indicating a weak external position.