Caribbean economies will continue to feel pain, says IMF expert

The economies of the Caribbean region will endure a prolonged recovery from the global recession, as it has been identified as one of the most affected areas of the downturn that began in the late 2007.

Some observers believe that the Caribbean is too dependent on tourism and that its economies are too inextricably linked to the United States, thus exacerbating the contagion effect.
Speaking with Caribbean Business Report from the IMF Headquarters in Washington, as reported in the Jamaica Observer, division chief in the IMF Research Department, Petya Koeva Brooks, said, “The Caribbean unfortunately was one of the regions that suffered a lot during the crisis and there are a number of reasons for this. The main one was its close links to advanced economies because of its dependence on tourism. Another reason is that there was just enough room for fiscal policies to respond and provide stimulus given the high levels of debts.
“We are expecting the recovery in the Caribbean to be sluggish. In Barbados for this year we are still expecting negative growth of minus 0.5 per cent and a gradual pickup in activity to growth rate of three percent in 2011.

“In Jamaica we are seeing, after a very sharp contraction last year, zero growth this year and a gradual pick up of about 1.8 per cent in 2011. For Antigua we see a sharp contraction this year of minus 4.1 per cent but next year bouncing back to 3.1 per cent. In Trinidad, we have modest growth this year of about 1.2 per cent, but doubling to 2011 to 2.5 per cent.