Tracking Caribbean Economies


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Barbados must reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio, says Central Bank

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday November 2, 2015 – Despite the dramatic improvement in the tourism industry, especially a 14 per cent increase in long stay arrivals so far this year, the Barbados economy grew by a marginal 0.3 per cent for the first nine months of the year, according to the Central Bank of Barbados, in its latest economic press release.

The major reason has been the construction sector, which the bank said “fell short of expectations” and the spin-off effect this had on the retail and domestic services sectors.

Also holding back the economy were what the bank termed “administrative issues” which had caused the emerging photovoltaic systems sector here to stall, with only a quarter of around 8 megawatts of new capacity fully operational.

Read more: Barbados must reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio, says Central Bank | Caribbean360


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Trinidad and Tobago to strengthen trade facilitation processes with help from the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$25 million loan to Trinidad and Tobago to help the twin-island republic improve its trade facilitation processes, part of an effort to boost and diversify the economy.

The loan will help strengthen the country’s Single Electronic Window for Trade and Business Facilitation Project (TTBizLink), a secure business portal created in 2009 that simplifies foreign trade and business processes by providing around-the-clock access to relevant government services.

The platform seeks to substantially reduce time and costs of trade and business transactions for private sector users while gathering and sharing relevant information among government agencies to simplify processes and optimize revenue collection.

The 25-year loan will support business processing reengineering and risk management for government agencies, an e-payment solution, the connection with Ports and Customs systems, an intermodal logistics platform, and the interoperability with other single windows, among other things.

Read more: Trinidad to strengthen trade facilitation processes with help from the IDB | Caribbean360


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Additional $71.5 million funding for Eastern Caribbean sustainable energy programme

Additional funding has been put in place to facilitate the growth of the renewable energy sector in the Eastern Caribbean.

As part of the Sustainable Energy Facility (SEF) for the Eastern Caribbean, a US$71.5 million loan and grant package was signed on Tuesday by Dr William Warren Smith, president of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The signing took place in Miami ahead of the start of the annual Caribbean Renewable Energy Conference.

The six independent countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines – are island states with small and isolated electricity markets, lacking the scale necessary to import cheaper fossil fuels, such as natural gas, and inadequate development of renewable energy potential.

Read More; Additional $71.5 million funding for Eastern Caribbean sustainable energy programme | Caribbean News Now


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Guyana providing millions to get rid of pest affecting coconut industry

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday December 3, 2015 – Cabinet has approved a GUY$49 million (US$236,483) package to help coconut farmers fight a red palm mite infestation affecting the industry.

The money will be used to purchase chemicals, equipment, and safety gear and provided to farmers at a subsidized cost to combat this infestation, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said during a post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday.

Coconut crops are located in six of Guyana’s 10 regions – Regions 2, 3, 4 5, 6 and 10 – and Agriculture Minister Noel Holder told Cabinet that Regions 2 and 3 were particularly affected by the red palm mite.

Technical teams have been deployed to assist farmers get rid of the pest.

The red palm mites form colonies on the underside of leaves and feed on the contents of the cells of the leaves. This feeding can cause localized yellowing of the leaves.

Read more: Guyana providing millions to get rid of pest affecting coconut industry | Caribbean360


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Caribbean takes steps to prevent bird flu

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T&T in Recession

THREE WEEKS before Christmas, the Central Bank has announced that this country is officially now in a recession.

Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran, at a monetary policy forum at the Hyatt Hotel Port of Spain on Friday, said this is in light of continued declines in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said this country suffered its fourth consecutive decline.

He said noticeable signs of the recession will start to set in next year, as businesses begin to cut back on investments, consumers hold back on spending and banks loans become fewer.

A recession, which is a sustained period of general economic decline, is defined as a decline in GDP for two or more consecutive quarters.


The Central Bank Governor provided some answers as to where the billions of dollars pumped into the financial system over the last three years ended up.

He labelled the Retail and Distribution sector as “the most voracious consumer” of foreign exchange, swallowing up almost US$4.5 billion in a three year period. He revealed that the major user of the currency in that sector was American warehouse chain, PriceSmart, which consumed US$507 million. The other top users in that sector were:

- Courts (US$198)

- Smith Robertson and Company (US$169million)

- A.S. Bryden (US$153 million)

- Massy Distribution (US$136 million)

Credit card payments accounted for US$1.8 billion over the past three year, Rambarran said.

He went on to caution consumers on depending heavily on imported goods.

“The current shortage of US dollars will not be solved unless we dramatically change of consumer-driven, heavily import-dependent behaviour. The import content of our consumer spending is at least 80 per cent.”

“Look at our exuberant behaviour during Black Friday, just one week ago, with shoppers camping outside the doors of wholesalers waiting eagerly to pounce on that must-have imported JVC 43-inch television priced at US$400.”

Read More Trinidad Express Newspapers: News | T&T in Recession


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T&T ‘s Central Bank governor defends his recession announcement

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Equity is the key to the economic turnaround of Jamaica

Equity is the key to the economic turnaround of Jamaica - Business -

Prime Minister Andrew Holness injected an extremely welcome note of leadership, transparency and accountability (in short, an emphasis on good governance) for his first Cabinet meeting earlier this week. He both invited the press, and emphasised the importance of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

The 2002 code, which was signed by former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, is based on the recommendations of a UK committee headed by Lord Nolan, “The Nolan Report”, which laid out the seven principles of public life: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership. It can be argued that three of these characteristics: openness, accountability and honesty together define transparency in government.

It is the Government’s obligation to share information with its citizens that enables them to hold their public officials accountable. Furthermore, governments exist to serve the people, and in an ideal world, their representatives would take decisions “solely in terms of the public interest”, thereby exhibiting “selflessness”.

While it is not a precise analogy, one way to look at our situation is that the shareholders (voters) at their annual general meeting (the election) have appointed new directors, and in particular a new managing director (prime minister) to be the stewards of the company called Jamaica


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IMF: T&T economy not in crisis

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Trinidad and Tobago's economy is not in crisis.

The IMF report following the mission to this country earlier this month, says that while the challenge of falling revenues due to low energy prices remains, there are substantial buffers and low public debt.

The IMF report also states that the economy has several strengths including a well-educated work force and a stable education system.

The report goes on to say since assuming office the current government has already taken steps to deal with the revenue reductions, by widening the VAT tax base, cutting fuel subsidies and cutting the number of government ministries to streamline operations.


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IMF says Caribbean countries still struggling to overcome global economic meltdown

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — A senior official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says with the global economy still struggling, many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a harsher world than they did a few years ago.

“Therefore, the growth outlook is weaker in advanced and emerging economies alike,” said Alejandro Werner, the director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department.

He told a news conference over the weekend that the favourable external financial conditions of the past several years have become more volatile, and risks of a sudden tightening are on the rise.

“Against this backdrop, economic activity in Latin America and the Caribbean has been revised downward compared with our January update, and is likely to contract for a second year in a row in 2016.

“Basically, we are projecting an average rate of growth of minus 0.5 per cent for this year. But the growth outlook varies substantially within the region. We have in South America where, let’s say, the deeper slowdown and the recession countries are concentrated — in Central America and the Caribbean and Mexico where we have most of the countries benefiting from the declining price of oil and therefore, economic activity in this subregion of Latin America and the Caribbean is accelerating a bit.
“As I said, therefore, the news isn’t all that bad because we have these subregions that are exhibiting some acceleration, and an important reduction in the current account deficits, and a strengthening of their fiscal balances.”

But when asked to state the IMF’s recommendations for small, open-commodity producers that have suffered in terms of trade shocks, Werner replied,“Obviously it’s a case-by-case issue and we do not like to generalise our policy recommendations.”

However, he said in the case of Trinidad and Tobago or other countries in the Caribbean, including Suriname, “I think these are countries that started with currency regimes that are more rigid than the ones we saw in South America.

“There are also countries that, in many cases, are expected to have an important increase in income in the next few years from positive supply shocks, and I think there the recommendation is to achieve some gradual ‘flexibilisation’ of the exchange rate to accommodate the external shock; and I think the most important anchor in these cases would be to really set the foundations for the fiscal policy to be in line with a new reality.

“I mean, in some of these countries the decline in terms of trading applies a significant reduction in public sector income. Therefore, in these cases, and in the case of Trinidad and Tobago these are countries where the debt levels are not very, very large, so they do have time to do these adjustments, so they can do them gradually, minimising any impact, protecting social expenditures.

“So in a sense, I think they have to lay down a very good strategy of adjusting their public finances through time to reflect this new reality and I think that’s the basis of the conversation we have had with the authorities,” Werner said.

He told reporters that a team had visited Trinidad a few weeks before, and “obviously we will be putting out our report after it has been approved by the board”.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has warned citizens to curb spending as a result of declining revenue due to the fall in oil prices on the global market.

He has told Trinidad and Tobago that his administration is implementing policies that would, in the long run, prevent the oil-rich twin island republic having to go to the Washington-based financial institution for assistance and its accompanying harsh economic policies.
Read More: IMF says Caribbean countries still struggling to overcome global economic meltdown - Business -



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T&T's Central Bank forecasts revival of economic growth next year

The Central Bank's Monetary Policy Report is forecasting a gradual revival in economic growth for this country in 2017.

The report says according to early available information on the domestic energy production and the revised budget in April of this year, the 2016 economic outlook remains the same which is a contraction in the order of 2.5 percent for the whole of 2016.

But as energy prices pick up and production increases, the Central Bank is projecting slight growth next year.

However, it says it may take some time before the losses of 2015 and 2016 to be reclaimed.

Globally the report says according to the International Monetary Fund's April 2016 economic outlook, following estimated growth of 3.1 percent in 2015, the global economy is projected to expand by 3.2 percent this year and 3.5 percent in 2017.

According to the report, this slight upturn can happen if there is an improvement in energy exporters as prices slowly recover, a successful rebalancing of China's economy and growth in non-energy exporting emerging markets and developing economies.
Read More: Central Bank forecasts revival of economic growth next year | CNC3


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Villa rentals booming in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday May 27, 2016 – With Royal Westmoreland recently achieving the highest sales in its history, and Sandy Lane Hotel constructing “super” villas valued at over US$25 million each, the villa and apartment product in Barbados “continues to offer a compelling alternative to the traditional hotel product, particularly in the luxury segment of the market,” according to Hayden Hutton, chief operating officer of Terra Caribbean, one of Barbados’ leading real estate firms.

Read more: Villa rentals booming in Barbados | Caribbean360



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Trinidad and Tobago earned approximately $6.7 million US dollars during the 2015-2016 cruise ship season.

Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe says our twin-island state is growing in popularity, particularly in the cruise ship industry.

And she forecasts even greater arrivals and earnings for 2017.
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The only thing I can do is to wish good luck to these countries. Unfortunately, ordinary people suffer from such crises but they can always use instant pautang. I am sure it able to help in bad financial situations.


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Trinidad & Tobago Economy Grew In First Quarter 2019

Trinidad and To####ba####go Central Bank has confirmed an en####er####gy-led re####cov####ery in do####mes####tic eco####nom####ic ac####tiv####i####ty in T&T's first half of fis####cal year 2018/19. The bank's June monetary policy announcement not####ed that gov####ern####ment’s deficit for the first half of the 2018/2019 fis####cal year was much low####er when com####pared to the cor####re####spond####ing pe####ri####od last fis####cal year.