ECCU FINANCIAL SECTOR REMAINS STABLE; IMPROVED PERFORMANCE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE IN 2017

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 26, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) reported during its 88th meeting, held in the Commonwealth of Dominica on Friday, July 21, that the financial system of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) remained stable for the year 2016, with improved performance of the sector expected to continue in 2017.

St. Kitts and Nevis was represented at that meeting by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris. He was accompanied by Financial Secretary in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mrs. Hilary Hazel.

The Governor’s Report on Monetary and Credit Conditions in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) noted that while growth in the financial sector is expected to continue, “vigilance must be maintained to ensure that gains are sustainable.”

The Governor’s report stated that “resilience of the financial system to potential adverse shocks strengthened and major risks to financial stability in the ECCU diminished. However, the banking sector continued to be challenged by structural vulnerabilities, including correspondent banking relationships.”

The official communiqué, issued at the end of the meeting, said that in keeping with its goal of maintaining financial stability, the ECCB would commence publication of a Financial Stability Report annually.

“The report is aimed at identifying risks and vulnerabilities in the ECCU financial system; assess the resilience of the financial system to domestic and external shocks; and provide information on the soundness of the financial system, and the various initiatives that regulators and governments are pursuing to mitigate risks to the ECCU financial system,” the communiqué added.

In a press release issued on July 5, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), stated that “St. Kitts and Nevis attained the strongest growth and fiscal performance in the ECCU region in recent years.”

The IMF also said that “Public debt fell further, projected to reach the ECCU debt-to-GDP target in 2018, well ahead of ECCU peers.”

St. Kitts and Nevis debt to GDP ratio, which stands at 63.2 percent, is the lowest among the independent states in the currency union.

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