Western Hemisphere > Trinidad and Tobago

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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The FSAP work was mostly conducted prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Given the FSAP’s focus on medium-term challenges and tail risks, its findings and recommendations for strengthening policy and institutional frameworks remain pertinent. As the growth projections were significantly revised downward since the FSAP, the quantitative risk analysis on bank solvency was complemented to include illustrative scenarios to quantify the possible implications of the COVID-19 shock on bank solvency.
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.
Keyra Primus
Managing resource revenues is a critical policy issue for small open resource-rich countries. This paper uses an open economy dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model to analyze the transmission of resource price shocks and a shock to resource production in the Trinidad and Tobago economy. It also applies alternative fiscal rules to determine the optimal allocation of resource windfalls between spending today and saving in a sovereign wealth fund. The results show that spending all the resource windfall on consumption and investment creates more volatility and amplifies Dutch disease effects, when compared to the case where all the excess revenues are saved. Also, neither a policy of full spending nor full saving of the surplus revenue inflows is optimal if the government is concerned about both household welfare and fiscal stability. In order to minimize deviations from both objectives, the optimal fiscal response suggests that a larger fraction of the resource windfalls should be saved.
Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, Mr. Joonkyu Park, Ms. Diva Singh, and Ms. Nita Thacker
Financial sector linkages have increased continuously in the Caribbean with cross border capital flows and financial conglomerates dominating the financial system. While the greater interconnectedness can heighten systemic risks and likelihood of contagion, it can have positive impacts provided the regional authorities take steps to prevent the systemic risk. In this context, financial sector reform measures aimed at bolstering and harmonizing prudential regulations in line with international best practices, the strengthening and enhancement of financial sector supervision to include cross border linkages through consolidated supervision, increased cooperation across supervisors in the region, and the establishment of deposit insurance and crisis resolution frameworks will be critical to maintain financial sector stability and minimize the repercussions of any negative shocks.
International Monetary Fund
In this study, the economic developments and policy responses of Trinidad and Tobago after the crisis is reviewed. Policy recommendations are used to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework. According to the IMF’s financial system stability assessment (FSSA), there were critical gaps in the overall legal, regulatory, and supervisory structure for the insurance sector. The quality of insurance sector supervision can be assessed against internationally accepted established “core principles.” In this paper, an overview is presented of why the crisis occurred and some suggestions on how to prevent a future crisis.
Goohoon Kwon and Mr. Raphael A Espinoza
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.
International Monetary Fund
This paper presents Barbados’s Financial System Stability Assessment Update as part of the Financial Sector Assessment Program Update. The domestic banking sector appears sound and profitable and continues to dominate the financial system. The financial system has benefited from the strong economic expansion, which has boosted credit demand while contributing to a steady improvement in banks’ asset quality. Capital adequacy for locally incorporated banks remains above the minimum required, and profits remain at healthy levels.
Mr. Shaun K. Roache
Investment-to-GDP ratios across the Caribbean tend to be relatively high. In many countries, these ratios have been trending higher since the mid-1990s, largely reflecting public investment and foreign direct investment. Private domestic investors have been less prominent. This may be one reason why such high investment has delivered Caribbean growth rates below the middle-income average. This paper seeks to understand how higher private investment may be encouraged. Using new data, it concludes that: the multiplier effects of public investment and FDI on private domestic investment are weak; and private domestic investment (PDI) is sensitive to the cost of capital. Public policy designed to raise PDI should focus on creating conditions for a lower cost of capital. The focus should be on removing barriers to lower real interest rates, rather than the further extension of costly tax concessions.
International Monetary Fund
This paper discusses Trinidad and Tobago’s (TTO) Financial System Stability Assessment, including Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes on Banking Supervision, and Payment Systems. TTO’s financial system is relatively large and structurally complex, demonstrating both sophistication and oligopolistic concentration. Although it does not appear to be vulnerable to immediate-term macroeconomic shocks, its risk profile has evolved. Stress tests and the assessment of compliance with Basel Core Principles indicate that the banking system is well capitalized and profitable, but is vulnerable to the potential macroeconomic impact of a sharp fall in energy prices.
Mr. Desiree Cherebin, Mr. Rupert D Worrell, and Ms. Tracy Polius
A survey of the financial systems of Caribbean countries reveals systems dominated by banks, with services widely available. Jamaica is the only country to have experienced a financial crisis. The paper describes recent improvements in the regulatory framework, and examines factors, which affect the soundness of the financial system, using both intuitive and econometric methodologies. The study identifies regulatory improvements that are needed, as well as additional data and analysis required to complete the assessment, which revealed no new threats to the financial system.