BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, February 17, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Economic growth within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) is projected to grow at a modest 2.2 percent in 2018, as countries continue their recovery efforts from the devastating effects associated with the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September of 2017.
The Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) reported after its 90th meeting held at the ECCB Headquarters in St. Kitts on Friday, February 16, that the “Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) remained resilient following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, which resulted in an estimated slower growth rate of 2.3 per cent in 2017.”
Speaking at a press conference following the Monetary Council meeting, ECCB Governor, Mr. Timothy Antoine said the Monetary Council is optimistic that growth would exceed the 2.2 projection.
“We actually hope that we would do better than 2.2; some of our countries will in fact,” Governor Antoine said. “A big part has to do with the implementation of some of the capital projects that are planned in those budgets and when they actually get implemented [they] will have an effect on the actual rate.”
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said, “This is basically an average, and so you are going to have some states doing better and some perhaps doing not as well as the 2.2 projected here.”
“As it is now, it is the best estimate that one can make at this time. These figures are likely to be revised as we move through the respective quarters, and we see how well member states that were severely disadvantaged as a result of the hurricanes, how quickly they are able to move into significant recovery…they can be better or less optimistic than projected and therefore would affect the outcome,” said Prime Minister Harris, who is also Minister of Finance.
The Monetary Council noted that while 2018 growth is projected at 2.2 percent, “projections pointed to an acceleration in 2019.”