This paper assesses the extent of regional financial integration in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) by analyzing equity prices in the region and rigidity of external financing constraints. The results are presented in a cross-regional perspective. The Caribbean stock markets are not as well integrated as one would expect from the extent of cross-listing and importance of regional banking groups: price differentials of cross-listed stocks reach an average of 5 percent. Auto-Regressive models suggest that these price differentials are only slowly arbitraged away, with half-lives exceeding 7 worked days, even when looking only at large arbitrage opportunities (using a Threshold Auto-Regressive model). A speculative methodology using macroeconomic data seems to confirm these findings. A strong mean reversion of the current account (respectively regional trade imbalances) is interpreted, following Obstfeld and Taylor (2004), as a lack of ways to finance current account deficits, i.e. a lack of global (respectively regional) financial integration. The region appears to be much less integrated than the EU15 or the ASEAN+3 groups, although it fares well compared to other LDCs.
Mr. Simon Cueva, Mr. Stephen Tokarick, Mr. Erik J. Lundback, Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky, and Mr. Samuel P. Itam
This paper focuses on the independent states that are full members of the Caribbean Community. It provides background information on recent developments in the Caribbean region and lays out the principal policy issues that countries will need to address in the period ahead. The Caribbean countries face several common problems and must deal with similar economic policy issues. Consequently, concentrating on the regional perspective permits a comparison of the individual responses to similar problems. The regional view throws light on the countries' movement toward convergence. The economic prospects for the region are generally satisfactory over the medium term, but the projections depend importantly on the resolve of governments to pursue appropriate policies, as well as favorable developments in the rest of the world. The relatively favorable outlook for the region is not without risks, such as a slowdown in growth in the major trading partner countries or a term of trade shock.