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    November 18

  • 04:47 AM

Delegation updates IMF, World Bank on economy

shadiasimpson, shadiasimpson@nationnews.com

Added 26 October 2012


The Barbados delegation to the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, led by Finance Minister Chris Sinckler, met with representatives of the IMF and ratings agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody’s to explain Barbados' economic strategy in depth. A statement from the Central Bank of Barbados said the delegation pointed out that the balance of external payments had been stabilized, so there was no decline in the foreign reserves of the country, and the exchange rate remained secure. Mainly due to weak economic performancein Britain and the United States, there has been little real growth and Government has increased taxes and cut spending to ensure that Barbadians' imports do not exceed foreign exchange inflows. Growth prospects for the economy rest with actual and projected private investment in tourism, and marketing initiatives in tourism and international business services. These initiatives are supported by Government investment in the ongoing upgrade of infrastructure, and by programmes to further increase the productivity of labour and quality of services. The delegation also met with a number of investment bankers’ representatives. All indicated that Barbados still has good access to international capital markets despite Standard & Poor’s downgrade, and that the prices of Barbados’ bonds have not been affected. Sinckler and Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell participated in the Caribbean delegation’s meeting with IMF managing director Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim with.   The Caribbean delegations pointed out that it is especially costly for small nations to build resilience in their vulnerabilities, and suggested this should inform criteria for eligibility and the design of funding facilities. They also pointed out that the resumption of economic growth in the Caribbean depends on the resurgence of foreign exchange earning-activities and that the devaluation of exchange rates is to be avoided because it depresses living standards and does not promote growth. For the plenary session of the annual meetings, Nasim Burke of Grenada’s Minister of Finance tabled a statement on behalf of Caribbean countries, outlining the Caribbean priorities for the work of the IMF and World Bank. The statement may be downloaded from http://www.imf.org/external/am/2012/speeches/pr26e.pdf. Members of the Barbados delegation participated in a number of seminars hosted by international institutions on the occasion of the annual meetings. They included the 44th meeting of Governors of the Latin America and Caribbean Monetary Studies Association, where Worrell made a presentation on economic policies for small open economies. The paper on which the presentation was made, recently published by the Group of 30 www.group30.org, was distributed at the International Banking Seminar that was addressed by the managing director of the IMF, the chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, and the governors of the Bank of England, Bank of Canada and Central Bank of Mexico. The annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank are a unique opportunity for Barbados and the Caribbean to speak directly to the international financial community. Thanks to the efforts of the offices of  executive directors who represent Caribbean countries on the Boards of the World Bank and the IMF, the region now has an effective voice at these meetings. The issues raised will be followed up at forthcoming meetings of regional central bank governors and at the level of the CARICOM Council of Finance and Planning Ministers (COFAP). The Barbados delegation to the annual meetings also comprised Director of Finance and Economic Affairs Grantley Smith; Director of Research and Economic Analysis, Central Bank, Michelle Doyle-Lowe; Director of Research, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Patrick McCaskie. Barbados’ Ambassador to Beijing Sir Lloyd Sandiford joined in some discussions, the statement said. (PR)


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