Eastern Caribbean Economy Declines, But Tourism Sector Shows Promise

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - February 25, 2012

Above: St Kitts and Nevis (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The economies of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union saw a 0.6 percent drop in economic activity in 2011, although that represented an improvement from a 2.2 percent drop in 2010, according to Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Governor Sir K Dwight Venner.

And while the region’s tourism sector saw lower growth than pre-crisis levels, it did show a 4.6 percent increase in 2011.

“Clearly, unemployment rates and poverty levels would have been negatively affected,” he said.

The ECCU includes Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The region’s banana sector was hit hardest by severe weather last year, with a 76.6 percent fall in banana receipts last year.

The construction industry contracted by 5.6 percent, according to the bank’s data.

On the fiscal side, the deficit for Eastern Caribbean central governments increased by approximately 64 percent in 2011.

“With respect to governments’ expenditure, there has been attempt to contain it, but this has not been an easy task in light of the crisis,” Venner said. “With respect to debt, countries have approached the Paris Club for rescheduling and some element of improvement in their credit terms. Others have engaged in debt restructuring exercises with their creditors involving difficult discussions and negotiations, which it is hoped will result in an improvement in the situation for both the government and the creditors.”

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