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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The fallout from the COVID-19 crisis is hitting ECCU economies hard. Tourism receipts (accounting for nearly 40 percent of GDP) have dried up, as tourist arrivals have come to a grinding halt. The authorities successfully contained the spread of the virus at the onset of the pandemic by largely closing the borders, but a reopening of the economies since the summer has led to a surge in COVID cases. The ECCU economy is projected to contract by 16 percent in 2020 and by a further near ½ percent in 2021. Fiscal positions have deteriorated sharply, and public debt is projected to reach near 90 percent of GDP in 2021 and remain at an elevated level for years to come. Headline indicators suggest the financial system is relatively sound with ample liquidity buffers, but nonperforming loans are expected to rise significantly. The outlook is clouded by exceptionally high risks, including from the uncertainty concerning the evolution of the pandemic.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses St. Lucia’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. IMF financing support provides resources to the countries’ authorities for essential health-related expenditures and income support to ease the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on the population. In order to address the pandemic, the authorities announced measures to help employees and households, including income support to the unemployed, tax relief, and providing cash transfers to the most vulnerable and affected. The countries’ governments have responded to the pandemic by swiftly implementing containment measures, allocating scarce budgetary resources to critical health care spending, and introducing income support to the most affected sectors and households. Protection of the financial system will help cushion the economic impact of the pandemic. Measures have also been taken by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to facilitate the provision of credit and safeguard financial stability. The IMF will continue to be engaged with Dominica, Grenada, and St. Lucia, and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support as needed.
International Monetary Fund
The objective of this paper is to analyze the growth performance of the ECCU countries since independence and the policy challenges they face to ensure sustained growth in the period ahead. Although tourism specialization may bring about higher growth, it could also increase volatility in growth by amplifying the impact of business cycles in source countries on the tourism sector. Low productivity growth is principally the reason for the slowdown in growth. High debt levels have been a major drag on growth.
International Monetary Fund
Over the last decade, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) macroeconomic performance has deteriorated relative to the rest of the Caribbean. Tourism accounts for three-fifths of exports, and the import content of consumption and investment is high. The ECCB-operated quasi-currency board arrangement (CBA) has continued to deliver price and exchange rate stability. The region has strong social indicators, but poverty, health, and crime remain concerns. Despite the implementation of ambitious revenue reforms, limited progress has been made toward fiscal consolidation. Credit has continued to expand rapidly.
International Monetary Fund
St. Lucia showed strong growth performance owing to its strong investment in tourism infrastructure. Executive Directors commended the prudent public debt management and sound banking system. They underscored the need for fiscal consolidation and steps to promote domestic investment and labor market flexibility. They appreciated the well-designed disaster prevention and mitigation framework, and urged the need to reduce unemployment, reverse the rapid rise in public debt, and encouraged authorities to improve the timeliness and accuracy of data for economic analysis and policymaking.
International Monetary Fund
The staff report for the 2004 Regional Surveillance on the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) focuses on the economic developments and near-term prospects. The fiscal position of the governments in the region has deteriorated sharply in recent years and resulted in a marked increase in public sector debt. Efforts in the region have focused on strengthening the supervisory and regulatory regimes in both the domestic banking sector and the offshore financial sector. Enhanced regional cooperation could also help broaden markets and provide opportunities to achieve economies of scale.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the competitive threats to the tourism sector in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The paper concludes that the ECCU countries have lost competitiveness globally and vis-à-vis newly emergent Caribbean tourist destinations as a result of both price and nonprice factors. The short-term measures implemented by the countries seem to have been insufficient to prevent further declines in 2002. The paper also describes strengthening fiscal discipline through fiscal benchmarks.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper on St. Lucia examines challenges facing the Windward Islands banana industry with a focus on the socioeconomic impact and production recovery strategies. The paper focuses on St. Luciathe—region’s largest producer and most populous island. It reviews recent developments in the tourist industry in St. Lucia and its growth potential over the medium term, in an increasingly competitive global tourism market. An overview of developments in the tourist industry in St. Lucia during the 1990s is also presented.
International Monetary Fund
This 2000 Article IV Consultation highlights that after a period of slow growth in the mid-1990s, mainly owing to a decline in banana output, economic growth of St. Lucia has improved since 1998. In 1998–99, real GDP rose by an average of 3 percent a year. Executive Directors have stressed that further diversification and enhancements to international competitiveness are needed to permanently raise long-term growth and to reduce the external vulnerability of the economy, particularly in light of the market uncertainties facing the crucial banana industry.
International Monetary Fund
This paper studies recent developments in tourism in the East Caribbean countries (ECC) and reviews government policies to support tourism. The paper also presents a model to explain the movements of tourist arrivals to the region during 1970-86. The estimated model is used to project future tourist arrivals in the ECC.