Caribbean Region Quarterly Bulletin: Volume 7, Issue 4: December 2018
The divergence in the development of the countries that correspond to the Inter-American Development Bank’s Caribbean Country Department and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) continued into 2018. While The Bahamas, Barbados, and Jamaica have benefited from strong world demand and still low commodity prices, they are also each dealing with fiscal challenges resulting from high debt-to-GDP ratios and related vulnerabilities. The situation in Barbados required immediate attention, and the authorities signed a four-year Extended Fund Facility supported by the International Monetary Fund. At the same time, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago are still recovering from the fall in commodity prices, with both countries barely exiting recessions. Guyana is an outlier in the region. Based on strong gold prices and the prospect of income and revenue from oil extraction scheduled for 2020, the country is experiencing strong economic growth, partly caused by fiscal expansion. The situation in the OECS countries is similar – while rebuilding from the 2017 hurricanes is ongoing in some countries, others have made important progress on their fiscal reform agenda.