ECCB Says Economic Outlook For Region Uncertain

Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) says the economic outlook for the region is uncertain.

The disclosure came in a communique after the Ninety-Eighth Meeting of the ECCB’s  Monetary Council.

The meeting was held on 12 February 2021, via videoconference.

The Monetary Council received the Governor’s Report on Monetary, Credit and Financial Conditions in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

The report covered the period January to December 2020.

According to the communique, the Monetary Council was informed that the recent spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in key source markets and some member countries is undermining the prospects for recovery of Tourism and growth in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

However, it said the rollout of vaccines in these source markets and the arrival of vaccines in the ECCU member countries are positive developments.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed substantial economic and health related challenges to the ECCU in 2020, the communique said.

It observed that the ECCU economy is estimated to have contracted by 15.0 per cent compared to a projected pre-pandemic expansion of 3.2 percent.

Tourism, the region’s dominant export, is estimated to have declined by 75.0 per cent. The ECCU economy is projected to grow by 4.0 per cent in 2021.

“Monetary and financial conditions were generally stable. However, domestic monetary and credit conditions deteriorated in 2020 relative to 2019, due to shutdowns and related economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the communique said.

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