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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Wednesday said economic growth across the Caribbean region is expected to increase slightly to 2.1 per cent this year.
ECLAC launched its “Economic Survey of the Caribbean 2019,” and according to the Trinidad-based ECLAC deputy director, Dillon Alleyne, economic growth strengthened across the Latin America and Caribbean region in 2018.
He said weighted average real growth in the region rose to two per cent last year relative to -0.1 per cent in 2017 and that amongst the fastest growing economies were Anguilla (10.9 per cent), followed by Antigua and Barbuda (7.4 per cent), Monserrat (5.2 per cent) and Grenada (4.1 per cent).
“This growth trend is expected to continue in 2019, as economic growth across the region is expected to increase slightly to 2.1 per cent,” he said, noting that in particular, average growth rate of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) economies is expected to strengthen to 4.2 per cent in 2019, which is above the global growth rate of 2.6 per cent as well as the regional growth rate.
ECLAC noted that the goods producing economies are expected to post a growth rate of two per cent in 2019, down from 2.2 per cent last year, while the service producing economies are expected to grow by 2.2 per cent up from 1.8 per cent in 2018.
It said that the slightly weaker performance of the goods producing economies can be linked to subdued global commodity prices.
“On the other hand, improvement in construction and tourism is expected to contribute to the better economic performance of the service producing economies. All of the 15 Caribbean economies assessed in the Economic Survey are expected to post positive growth in 2019 for the first time since 2007.
“More specifically, Dominica (9.9 per cent), Antigua and Barbuda (5.9 per cent), Grenada (3.3 per cent) and St Kitts and Nevis (3.1 per cent) are expected to be the outstanding contributors to this positive forecast.”
Alleyne said driving this outturn is an anticipated strong performance in tourism related activities, the construction sector, as well as robust results in the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes following the reduction in the minimum investment requirements for the CBI programmes by some OECS economies with Dominica having one of the lowest CBI investment requirements.
He said in the case of Guyana, economic activity is also expected to accelerate (4.6 per cent) ahead of the first commercial oil production in early 2020. (CMC)