Sunday 5 April, 2020

ECLAC projects 4 countries to lead Caribbean economic growth in 2020

Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana and Grenada are the countries that will be leading economic activity throughout the Caribbean in 2020, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

ECLAC made the assessment in its “Preliminary Overview of Latin America and the Caribbean for 2019.”

Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada are in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and ECLAC said the union will achieve eight consecutive years of positive economic outturn, with average growth forecast to remain steady at 3.9 per cent in 2019.

ECLAC said: “The robust performance of the tourism sector, as well as the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes and public sector-fueled construction activity, were the primary drivers of ECCU-wide Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2019.”

The Commission stated: “The improved fiscal performance of Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis were insufficient to offset the worsening fiscal positions of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines over the period under review.”

The report noted: “During the first half of 2019, ECCU governments continued to focus on initiatives to upgrade or modernize key economic infrastructure, which fuelled the expansion in capital expenditure.”

The Union’s inflation rate also fell from 1.3 per cent at the close of 2018 to 0.7 per cent by the end of June 2019, as housing, utilities and fuel prices trended downwards.

For Guyana, the Commission stated economic activity “continues to accelerate ahead of the oil boom expected in 2020.”

The country’s overall fiscal deficit is projected to deteriorate from 3.6 per cent of GDP in 2018 to 4.9 per cent of GDP in 2019 “as an increase in expenditure (16 per cent) outweighs improved revenue (up 11.3 per cent).”

ECLAC said: “In 2020, the economy is expected to expand substantially, by 85.6 per cent, as commercial oil production will commence in December 2019. Even the non-oil growth rate is expected to reach 4.8 per cent, owing to a spillover effect of oil production on other sectors.”

The country’s economic turnaround has also increased the cost of food as prices have risen close to seven per cent over the last year.

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