Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 5th 2014 Contents BG10 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 2014 • WEEK ONE
T&T s much touted 1.6 per cent
growth rate in 2013 was below
the Caribbean average, accord-
ing to a table in the Inter-Amer-
ican Development Bank s
Caribbean Region Quarterly Bulletin released
last week Wednesday.
The table (attached) shows that T&T s real
growth rate was below the Caribbean average
by five basis points. The Caribbean average
was 2.1 per cent while T&T grew by only 1.6
per cent in 2013. The Bahamas grew 1.9 per
cent; Suriname grew 4.7 per cent; and Guyana
grew 4.8 per cent.
At a forum in Tobago in May, the Central
Bank revised its 2013 growth domestic product
(GDP) estimate for T&T to "almost 2.0 per
cent", which is still below the Caribbean aver-
age of 2.1 per cent.
In its summary of economic developments
by country, the IDB economists said that
economic activity in The Bahamas remained
sluggish through the beginning of 2014.
Tourism grew by 3.5 per cent, with sea arrivals
increasing and air arrivals declining, despite
closure of a mid-sized hotel. Private sector
credit growth moderated, signalling a per-
sistent weakness in the domestic market. The
percentage of unemployed individuals persists
in the double-digits while inflation abated.
Fiscal performance improved with the deficit
contracting for the first six months, and The
Bahamas authorities have announced the
possibility of adopting fiscal rules.
Barbados economy contracted in 2013 and
is projected to deteriorate further in 2014 by
about 0.7 per cent. Tourism had a mixed per-
formance with the decline in long-stays out-
weighing the increase in cruise arrivals.
Unemployment remained high while inflation
Fiscal outcome worsened as revenues were
below expected levels, which led to higher
debt ratios, the IDB economists said.
Guyana remained on its healthy growth
trajectory and registering a growth rate in
2013 that bettered all of the countries analysed
by the IDB.
The 2014 national budget is the largest in
Guyanese history and is mostly driven by an
expansion in capital projects. The rice, gold,
and services sectors served as the primary
drivers of growth, while sugar and bauxite
The anti-money laundering/counter
financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) bill has
not yet been passed and carries serious rep-
utational damage to the financial sector, the
bulletin said. The current account is expected
to remain fully financed through capital flows
Jamaica s outlook improved toward the end
of 2013, with the economy registering growth
of 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter. The
authorities committed to continue meeting
the reform targets.
growth was below
Finance Minister Bob Richards has described
the move by Fitch Ratings to downgrade the
country s credit rating as "disappointing,"
although not unexpected "given the high level
of debt accumulated since the financial cri-
In its commentary on Friday, the interna-
tional agency said Bermuda, which has been
in recession for more than five years, has a
weak fiscal position.
Although Fitch believes government s policies
have led to "improved business confidence",
the agency says there are risks to the finance
ministry s debt-reducing strategy, given its
partial reliance on a return to economic growth.
Fitch expects zero growth in the Bermuda
economy this year, but a one percent increase
in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015.
Fitch cut Bermuda s long-term foreign and
local currency issuer default ratings (IDRs) to
A+ from AA- and did the same with issue
ratings on Bermuda s senior unsecured bonds
to A+ from AA-.
The rating outlook has been revised to stable
from negative, based on Fitch s expectation
of a return to economic growth and govern-
ment s continuing commitment to reducing
Richards noted that the rating remains in
the upper medium investment grade, with a
"Fitch has said that our economic data in
2014 suggests that the Bermudian economy
could be stabilising and foresees GDP growth
to be zero in 2014 followed a by one percent
expansion in 2015," Richards said.
Richards said government s strategy was
"to implement a Jobs and Economic Turn-
around Plan that strikes a balance between
responsible growth and disciplined financial
He added: "As the minister of finance, I
remain committed to creating an economy
that works for everyone and returning our
public finances to a sustainable position."
Last month, Moody s, another international
agency, cut Bermuda s rating from AA3 to A1.
The ruling One Bermuda Alliance inherited
a national debt of US$1.4 billion when it took
office after defeating the Progressive Labour
Party (PLP) in the December 2012 general elec-
tion. The PLP had run the country for 14 years
after ending 30 years of rule by the now defunct
United Bermuda Party.
Unemployment in Bermuda is running at
around eight per cent. (Caribbean360)
Fitch follows Moody's downgrade of Bermuda's credit rating
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