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Caribbean Economic Performance Report -June 2014
The economic activities in the CARICOM region for 2013 were reported to be on the upswing. The estimated weighted average growth rate for the CARICOM economies increased from 1.7 per cent (2012) to 2.4 per cent in 2013.
Global economic growth slowed in 2013 to three per cent compared to 3.2 per cent in 2012. The growth rate in advanced economies slipped to 1.3 per cent and that in emerging and developing economies to 4.7 per cent. Within the advanced economies group, recession continued in the Euro area and the USA growth rate decreased from 2.8 per cent to 1.9 per cent. In the emerging and developing economies group, China’s growth rate remained constant at 7.7 per cent, Brazil’s increased from one per cent to 2.3 per cent, while India and Latin America decreased slightly to 4.4 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively. Among the encouraging signs are the fall in unemployment in advanced economies, a faster rate of expansion of global trade, including exports from emerging and developing economies, and resilient growth in world tourism.
The economic activities in the CARICOM region for 2013 were reported to be on the upswing. The estimated weighted average growth rate for the CARICOM economies increased from 1.7 per cent (2012) to 2.4 per cent in 2013. Most of the economies reported improvements in their real GDP levels for 2013, with most of them expressing concern about stability, mainly in the non-commodity producing economies. Figure 1 shows that the reported growth rate in real GDP for the region ranged from 0.2 per cent (Barbados) to 5.2 per cent (Guyana) for the year 2013. Seven of the ten countries reported increases in the level of their economic activities, while two countries, Belize and The Bahamas, reported significant declines in their economic activities.
Prospects For 2014
The economic outlook for 2014 is one of slow growth in most of the individual economies. The projections made by the IMF show eight countries growing faster in 2014 than in 2013, with the highest growth in that group being 2.7 per cent . Four other countries are also projected to grow but more slowly than they did in 2013. This second group included Haiti, Guyana and Suriname whose projected economic growth rates remain in the region of four per cent. No change in economic growth rate is projected for Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados is projected to experience a 1.2 per cent decrease in real output.
The IMF projections also indicate accelerated price level increases in ten of the 14 countries, the exceptions being Antigua and Barbuda with constant rate of inflation in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago where inflation is expected to abate.
The external current account balance is projected to improve in eight of the 14 countries and to deteriorate in five while being unchanged in one.
Government finances are projected to remain problematic. In only seven countries is the public sector primary balance projected to improve. In five countries it is expected to deteriorate. Public sector gross debt is projected to rise relative to GDP in 12 of the 14 countries, including in countries which are already highly indebted. Two of the more highly indebted countries, namely Jamaica and St Kitts-Nevis, are expected to have lower ratios of public sector gross debt to GDP in 2014.