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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is painting a picture of more economic uncertainty for Caribbean economies for the rest of this year and next year, with tourism dependent nations like Barbados expected to be hardest hit. In its Regional Economic Update For Latin America And The Caribbean, released in Washington yesterday morning, the IMF lamented: “Growth in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region has softened since our April report, reflecting the larger than anticipated impact of earlier policy tightening and the somewhat less favourable external environment.” With growth in the LAC’s largest economy – Brazil – slowing, the IMF urged that “policies need to be carefully calibrated to keep domestic demand and credit growth in check”. The IMF’s most significant warning, however, was reserved for the Caribbean where it said the challenges ahead were “more pressing” and “where the recovery has been held back by weak balance sheets” and reduced “external demand” for the region’s products and services.