CDB predicts three per cent economic growth for St. Lucia in 2019

By CMC

 Share This On:

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Mar 20, CMC – St. Lucia is expected to record economic growth of three per cent this year with the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) saying that the growth appears poised to increase in large part due to private and public sector construction programmes coming back on stream.

In its “Country Economic Review 2018-St. Lucia”, the region’s premier financial institution said that tourism activities are projected to expand and agriculture output will remain buoyant.

“Consequently, growth in ancillary economic activities, such as wholesale and retail and transport and storage, will likely trend upwards. Higher levels of expenditure, mainly capital spending, could lead to a slight deterioration in fiscal conditions with an adverse impact on public debt.

“Moreover, a bunching of debt service payments could present challenges in 2019. Projected global economic slowdown and the island’s high susceptibility to natural hazard events present major downside risks,” the CDB noted.
It said that economic activity in St Lucia decelerated to 0.6 per cent last year from 3.7 per cent in 2017 and that this slowdown was mainly due to a significant downturn in the construction sector.

Headline inflation increased, while Central Government operations resulted in improved fiscal balances; and public debt as a per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) was slightly lower.

Commercial bank credit to the private sector contracted in 2018; and the spread between lending and deposit rates widened. The external current account was in surplus, while gross reserves as a percentage of imports contracted.

But the CDB said that the economic outlook is positive and that “growth is projected to rebound to three per cent, and fiscal conditions should improve in 2019”.

However it said risks to the outlook are tilted to the downside.

It is estimated that GDP expanded by 0.6 per cent in 2018 and this deceleration in activity was driven mainly by unfavourable outturns in the main growth sectors.

Delays in private and public sector construction projects resulted in a steep sector decline of 17 per cent, in contrast to a robust expansion of 11.4 per cent in 2017. Meanwhile, the pace of growth in tourism-related activities slowed to 4.3 per cent, compared with the 10.3 per cent recorded in 2017.

Consequently, key ancillary activities such as wholesale and retail, and transport and storage, either contracted or recorded lower expansion in 2018. Conversely, the buoyant growth in agricultural output (11.4%) mitigated the slowdown in economic activity. This outturn represented a considerable turnaround in the agricultural sector which had recorded an average decline of two per cent over the previous five years.”

The CDB said weaker economic conditions compromised employment performance in 2018. Data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that, on a year-on-year basis, the unemployment rate rose to 20.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, compared with 16.8 per cent for the same period in 2017.

Job losses were recorded in all major sectors except public administration. On an annualised basis, unemployment was estimated to be approximately 21.5 per cent in 2018, marginally up from 20.2 per cent in 2017.

Central government operations resulted in improved fiscal outcomes in 2018.

Preliminary estimates from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) indicate that the overall balance switched to a surplus position of 0.3 per cent of GDP as at September 2018, from a deficit of 0.8 per cent as at the same period in 2017, while the primary surplus improved to 3.5 per cent of GDP from 2.4 per cent over the comparable period.

“The improved fiscal balances resulted from expansion in total revenue and grants, which grew by 9.3 per cent, outpacing the 4.6 per cent growth in total expenditure. Notable revenue performances were recorded in value-added tax (VAT), which rebounded by 4.9 per cent following a 9.4 per cent decline in 2017 when the rate was reduced to 12.5 per cent from 15 per cent,” the bank said.

It said collections from the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) were particularly strong. September 2018 figures indicate a more than sevenfold rise to US$60.2 million from seven million US dollars for the same period a year earlier.

On the expenditure side, a number of categories recorded growth. Spending on goods and services, which grew by 45.8 per cent year-on-year as at September 2018, recorded the largest increase.

Public sector debt was estimated to be 67.8 per cent of GDP at the end of 2018, slightly down from 68.5 per cent a year earlier. The reduction in debt was consistent with improvements in fiscal outturns, and a reduction in borrowing requirements for 2018

Outcomes in the financial sector largely reflected the slowdown in economic activity. Commercial banks’ lending to the public and private sectors declined as at end of September 2018. Credit to the private sector contracted by 1.7 per cent, while lending to Central government fell by seven per cent.

At the same time and, consistent with lower economic activity, currency with the public recorded a 10.2 per cent decline. The prime lending rate increased by 200 basis points to nine per cent, and the spread between the weighted average lending and deposit rate widened by 10 basis point to 6.62 per cent.

Meanwhile, the ratio of gross non-performing loans to total loans declined to 10.3 per cent from 12.5 per cent at the end of 2017. The capital adequacy ratio moved up to 19.2 per cent.

The CDB reported that the external current account recorded a small surplus for the first time in three years.

The surplus was 0.8 per cent of GDP compared with a deficit of 2.5 per cent at the end of 2017.

“This outturn was aided by higher exports of services, which offset the decline in goods and merchandise trade. Data as at September 2018 show that imputed gross reserves ticked up to an equivalent of 4.8 months of imports,” the CDB said.

(4)(1)
Copyright 2019 St. Lucia News Online. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

2 comments

  1. They, the UWP, will tout this prediction and then in the same breath tell workers that the economy is not doing well, so NO raise!

    (2)(1)
  2. 03/21/2019 (Part two)
    I Proclaim that the “King is coming”! I announce to the ends of the earth, that the “King is coming”. And that the days of Noah are here. “I am coming for those who have laid their burdens down” …. In the name of Jesus.
    The Father says: The false teachers does not teach repentance and judgement, they do not teach Hell and the consequences for not obeying my commandments and statues. The false teachers have no understanding of the “Law” and “Prophets”. How can they teach you about the messiah and savior when they don’t know me? To know me is to know my words, all my words not just the words that are convenient. I made a new covenant, but you must understand the beginning in order to understand the end. I tell you this now children. “Follow no man, trust no man” but “follow Jesus the Christ” and confess his name out loud. Do not be frightened or ashamed to speak the truth I will protect you in these last minutes. Flee from anyone not teaching judgement for it is upon the earth now! I am the “Good Shepard”, I will find the last lost sheep and bring him to me. Beware of the union of the evil false prophet and the Beast. The false prophet leads many down the path of destruction and death, the people follow him without question and believe the lies of the centuries.
    Satan has captivated many they are lost refusing to believe my truth even after they have been shown the error of their traditions and beliefs. Bowing down to worship statues of stone, calling men father and asking men for forgiveness. I died so you may have life, everlasting life, the beast will use these lies of tradition to massacre the multitudes, blinded, they will take the “mark” I have told you and warned you about. They will say, your messiah would want you to take this mark and worship him as he is, the “Anti-Christ”, the “Beast”, that is who he is. Mr. Obama returns to power to fulfill scripture, as it was written it will be done.
    Speak this day of the beast, those with open ears have been given revelation and know the identity of this man. My prophets and messengers have given warnings still many refuses to believe this man is among you now. This is his time and his days are numbered, the people of the earth have already been charmed. They cannot see a raging Beast standing before them, but things will change rapidly, he has already been accepted and admired. The slaughter will soon begin, repent now while it is daylight for night comes quickly. The foolish believed they were going up with the bridegroom right until he came, they never expected to be left behind. If they did think this was a possibility, they would have been prepared, instead they asked the wise for their oil. Children now is not the time to sleep, the wise have been preparing as I have instructed them what to do in every message given to my messengers and prophets.
    The time is at hand now many of the foolish are trying to give instructions to the wise. Have you prepared? Do you have oil? Do you understand what the oil is? Many will be caught - Off Guard! I told you to be ready, my Angels are waiting for my command. At midnight, a cry will be heard through out the land, the earth will tremble and quake. The Bridegroom is coming. Do you know me? Do you know my ways? I am coming for my “Bride”, once you are removed from the earth, evil will flourish. Crying will be heard in the Heavens, those who have not heeded my words will see a world wind of destruction coming upon the nations. The leaders will hide under ground to escape my wrath, the remaining people will be tortured and slaughtered by the “Beast’. I love my children, I have waited because I don’t want any to perish. I paused time for you to come to me, many have come, many more have rejected me. Ignoring my messengers and prophets’ warnings and calls to repentance.
    I must act now to prevent more innocent bloodshed. Because you know me, I have given you understanding for your coming days before your departure. You will be safe, do not fear any man. I will protect you, trust me. Keep your focus on me. Do not get involved with the world or worldly people. Separate yourself now if you haven’t already. The bridegroom is coming! Speak now “Son of Man”. Speak of the season for the time of the innocent is spent. There shall be a gathering for my time waits for no man. I come quickly! Have you examined yourself? Where does your treasure lie? Is your house in order? Now is the time to shout from the roof tops and proclaim my glory. Let those who have ears hear these words of the LORD: Speak these words: “I am the truth, the everlasting truth.” Do you know me, or do you prosper in the lie? I have known you since the foundation when I formed you. I have called and chosen you, time comes to an end, my time.
    Another time begins, the time of the “Beast”. Many remain blinded by this world and can’t see what is before them. Many have fallen away even with my messengers and prophets shouting my words from the roof tops. The earth is quaking around them, the seas roaring, the earth sinking and swallowing, yet they run to the darkness and not to the light. They delight in darkness; my judgement is upon them, yet they remain asleep. If you seek the truth you will find it. If I lead you to the knowledge you will have the wisdom. Call on me now, things are changing rapidly. Your King is coming. Are you ready? Have you prepared! Before Abraham was, “I AM”. Speak now “Son of Man” Speak of the season, Speak of my time. This is the season of grace for in your weakness you have gained strength.
    Do not waver! Do not waver at this hour. Today’s time comes but once. Have you served me or yourself? You ask for forgiveness, but have you forgiven? You will stand in front of me and all questions will be answered. While there is still time, do unto others what you would have done unto you. I am calling my “Bride” away. Your eyes will not see the sudden destruction coming. My wrath is poured out on the nations of the earth for their pride and abominations. My Bride, you will rest safely with me, your Bridegroom. You have been refined in the furnace and you are now without spot or wrinkle. No more tears, all tears will be wiped away. The marriage supper awaits you, you have made yourselves ready. You will hear a shout…Our time is here!
    * These are the words of – Yahushua.
    * Repent; be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, those of you who have not done so, for when the books are closed, no one will be able to enter in. God is sending warnings after warnings. We are in the End Times and he does not want ANY ONE to Perish. Time is running out, get saved now while you have time. He is the only way to salvation. Amend your ways and you will be allowed to remain in the land. Let those who have ears to hear and those who have eyes to see. Repent now! Remain strong, bold and courageous.

    (0)(2)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.