Eastern Caribbean Economies Contracted 0.1 Percent in 2012

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - February 1, 2013

Above: St Lucia

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Economic activity in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union fell in 2012 for the fourth consecutive year, according to Sir K Dwight Venner, President of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

Real GDP in the ECCU, which comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, fell by 0.1 percent last year.

Economic decline did slow, however, compared to an average contraction of 2.2 percent per year from 2009 to 2011.

“This out-turn reflected lower output in key sectors such as, construction, transport, storage and communications, and sluggish growth in the tourism industry,” Venner said. “Value added by the construction sector contracted by 5.6 per cent, following an average decline of 13.3 per cent in the previous three years.”

Venner said tourism’s “weakened performance” was due to several factors, including reduce demand, higher airfares for regional travel and “reduce airlift out of the USA to at least one territory in the Currency Union.”

“The cruise ship sub-sector was also challenged by increased competition from other destinations, resulting in a reduction in passenger arrivals, consistent with the fall in the number of calls, as some member countries were taken off the itinerary of the major cruise companies,” he said.

Venner said the region had lost its competitiveness in a number of areas.

“To put it bluntly, we are being left behind in a very competitive world in which countries, both advanced and developing, are having to make significant adjustments to remain competitive,” he said.

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