BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 13th, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded its 2016 Article IV mission to St Kitts and Nevis. A team from the IMF, led by Ms. Inci Otker, conducted the Article IV Consultation in the country between April 20th and May 3rd.
In a press release dated today, May 13th, 2016, the IMF provided a positive overview of the Team Unity Government’s management of the economy in 2015, as well as St. Kitts and Nevis’ economic prospects for 2016.
Commenting on the press release, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Sustainable Development, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris said, “The IMF’s statement is another independent verification of our competent stewardship of the economy, and it gladdens my heart that such a reputable international institution would commend my Government’s policy actions and vision.”
The IMF’s positive overview of the economy reinforces similar statements made by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), and United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on the impressive economic performance of St Kitts and Nevis.
In its press release, the IMF noted that macroeconomic performance remained strong in 2015 and the economy grew at an estimated 5 percent, in line with 2015 Article IV projections. The IMF said construction activity was strong in 2015 and that the ongoing recovery in tourism along with strong wholesale and retail activity also supported growth.
“Inflation turned negative, owing to the impact of VAT and import duty exemptions and lower commodity prices. The fiscal position remained in surplus, at an estimated 5 percent of GDP,” the release also said.
The Government received high praise for its debt management. “The debt-to-GDP ratio continued its impressive downward trajectory, and is projected to reach the ECCU’s 2030 target of 60 percent in 2017,” the IMF said.
There was good news on the banking sector, too. “The banking system remained stable with comfortable capital buffers and high levels of liquidity. Private sector credit witnessed a moderate recovery of 3.2 percent year-on-year in 2015,” the press release said.
Contrary to the propaganda of the maladjusted opposition, the IMF says the outlook for 2016 is positive and growth is expected to moderate to 3.5 percent in 2016.
Latin Trade Magazine in April 2016 described St. Kitts and Nevis as a star in the Caribbean on account of both its leading economic performance in 2015 and projections for 2016. The country’s growth rate is way ahead of the OECS and CARICOM average.
On April 18th, the ECCB Governor, Mr. Timothy Antoine, made a presentation to the Cabinet and said that GDP growth, as at December 2015, in St. Kitts and Nevis was 4.02% greater than in the ECCU. Mr. Antoine also said that growth in private sector credit rose to 3.2% in St. Kitts and Nevis, but registered a decline of 6.1% throughout the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) last year. As at December 2015, St. Kitts and Nevis’ debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 61.64% compared to 76.04% for the eight-member ECCU as a whole.
Dr. Harris says the people of St. Kitts and Nevis should be comforted that our country is moving in the right direction.