ECLAC predicts growth of 1.5 per cent for Barbados this year

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is predicting growth of 1.5 per cent for Barbados this year.

At the same time, the United Nations organization is predicting that as a result of general election, which is constitutionally due by the middle of next year, it will make it difficult for Government to achieve its fiscal targets by the end of the 2017/2018 financial year, which culminates on March 31.

In a release late this week, ECLAC highlighted that over the years government’s fiscal policies have sought to reduce the fiscal deficit through a combination of measures to boost revenue and curb expenditure, but said while some achievements have been made, government continued to struggle.

“The fiscal deficit fell to 5.6 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the fiscal year 2016/17, down by 4.2 percentage points compared to fiscal year 2015/16, with a primary surplus of 2.6 per cent of GDP. The gross public sector debt-to-GDP ratio also fell below 100 per cent for the first time in five years, reaching 96.2 per cent by September 2017, compared with 100.4 per cent for the same period in 2016. However, the upcoming 2018 general election may make it difficult to achieve the government target of 4.4 per cent of GDP by the end of the fiscal year 2017/18,” it said, without going to detail.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had also predicted earlier this year that as a result of the upcoming general election some difficulty would remain in government achieving its fiscal targets.

ECLAC in its report said while the current account deficit widened slightly to 4.1 per cent in the first three quarters of this year, which represents a 3.4 per cent increase in surplus in the service account, “the largest component of the current account was cancelled out by a 7.4 per cent fall in goods exports, which outpaced the decline in goods imports”.

“Over the last decade, the Government of Barbados has struggled to regain a firm grip on economic growth. The economy has been bolstered by the robust performance of the tourism sector and its spillover effects in sectors such as construction; however it remains highly vulnerable to external events and growth remains low,” said ECLAC.

Pointing to slowed economic activity, which reached about 1.4 per cent in the first three quarters of this year, compared to the 1.6 per cent for the same period in 2016, the Chile-based organization said “the Barbados economy is projected to achieve GDP growth of approximately 1.5 per cent in 2017, underpinned primarily by a productive performance in the tourism sector and the spillover effects on construction. The performance of all other sectors was subdued”.

The local tourism sector is on track to record another record year. The sector posted a 6.46 per cent increase in visitor arrivals for the first ten months, notwithstanding disruption to the arrivals of flights and cruise ships as a result of the active hurricane season. Cruise arrivals and calls both grew by over 18 per cent between January to October 2017.

Delivering the tourism arrival numbers earlier this week Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Rudy Grant said 533,296 tourists visited Barbados between January and October, putting it on track to shatter last year’s record 610,000 arrivals.

Despite this positive trend, however, the economy continues to be under severe pressure with the international reserves plummeting to US$549.7 million or just 8.6 weeks of import cover by the end of September 2017, well below the 12 weeks benchmark.

ECLAC acknowledged that reversing the decline in the international reserves remained a “priority for Government”.

“The central bank is committed to preserving the fixed exchange rate peg of US$ 1 to BDS$ 2, in order to maintain monetary stability and facilitate conversions for the numerous foreign visitors,” it said.

“In the short term, the government has initiated the sale of state-owned enterprises, such as the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited and the Hilton Barbados Resort, to bolster dwindling international reserves. However, the sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited has stalled, pending the approval of the Fair Trade Commission. Long-term measures to counter any further shortfall in international reserves will focus on investments in the tourism industry,” it added.

30 Responses to ECLAC predicts growth of 1.5 per cent for Barbados this year

  1. Claire Battershield
    Claire Battershield December 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Which half of next year?

    • Chris Alleyne
      Chris Alleyne December 17, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      the half after we get rid of our current ‘government’.

      • Carson C Cadogan December 17, 2017 at 9:26 pm

        wunna white people anxious to get rid of the DLP so that you all can have your own way. 2.7% of the population seeking with the help of the Barbados Labour Party to continue to dominate Black people.

        • Jennifer December 17, 2017 at 11:01 pm

          Sorry CCC u r fighting a losing battle. That ham and a wine is the problem.

          • Rechelle December 18, 2017 at 7:13 am

            Flat screen TV’s too!!

        • O. Walrond December 18, 2017 at 11:48 am

          You would like the whole of barbados to believe it’s just white people against a black government. Oh yes. The truth is you guys have been the greatest detriment to black people, and they will vote against you in record numbers whenever you ring the proverbial bell.

  2. Ian Edwards
    Ian Edwards December 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Barbados will continue to struggle because don’t produce anything all it does is import you can’t sustained on a higher level by doing this

    • Jennifer December 17, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      @Ian E – Well said. Import, clean up after their colonialist children and produce degrees. Clearly stuck in academics while the white boot remains in the neck.

    • Olutoye Walrond
      Olutoye Walrond December 18, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      An economy does not have to produce for exports to be successful. There are countries with robust service economies that don’t make anything – Bermuda is one example.

    • Ian Edwards
      Ian Edwards December 18, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Ok i agree in a sense Mr warlord but how are you going to have growth in barbados how are you going to obtain a level or image that barbados trying to keep you don’t have any resources to maintain anything st lucia,Jamaica trinidad some of the se island have resources but it’s the financial situation in the past is what keeping them down and bim is heading that way in the future

    • Ian Edwards
      Ian Edwards December 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Sorry pronounced your name wrong no disrespect Mr walrond

  3. Oneil Shalom Mitzvah Hall
    Oneil Shalom Mitzvah Hall December 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Growth or no growth, DEMS MUST GO!

  4. Pat BB
    Pat BB December 17, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    If u mean the half AFTER Election, then YES, I believe u….otherwise, ha haaaaaaaaa hahahahahaa

  5. Saga Boy December 17, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    The few anti DLP persons on this thread will not determine the outcome of the elections.
    It amazes me how some of you think that Mia is capable of performing miracles if the good people of Barbados would be so foolish as to vote for the BLP. She cant even work a miracle in order to produce her LEC.

    • Ralph Greene December 17, 2017 at 11:13 pm

      It amazes me how you think Bajans want to hear from DEM again. Stop dreaming.

    • Jennifer December 17, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      @Saga – Lol. But saga u know that LEC rubbish is a mere ball for the simple children to run with and catch, kick, tackle etc mekking bare sport.

  6. Charles Skeete
    Charles Skeete December 18, 2017 at 12:55 am

    do you not think it is time ?
    After all the lower islands as we refer to them have been experiencing growth long ago despite having been plagued with the same global recessional challenges

    • Claire Battershield
      Claire Battershield December 18, 2017 at 6:52 am

      All the taxes and borrowing from every one only growth seems to be in people and their friends bank accounts

  7. Neval Greenidge
    Neval Greenidge December 18, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Elections prediction …

  8. Oliver Smith December 18, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Carson old boy it is men? like you that keeping our black brethren down, by trying to convince them that a Party that has ruined the social and economic landscape of our country is worthy of our continued support. Good luck with that. Black people know better.

  9. archy perch December 18, 2017 at 7:55 am

    @ Charles Skeete. You cannot compare Barbados to other Caribbean islands this part of the region, we are a cut above them. Our services and financial setup is more advanced Sir. Those services – have waned a little; the world economic recession has affected everything. However, we still enjoy all of them despite the slowdown. That’s why so many of our regional counterparts try to come here to live.

    • O. Walrond December 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

      In what way are we a cut above other Caribbean islands? How many of them have you lived in? Stop deluding yourself with that great Barbadian myth. There is nothing we have that you can’t find in other Caribbean countries. And it is not true that they all want to come and live here. By the way check the national census for Barbadians living in other parts of the Caribbean. You might be surprised.

  10. milli watt December 18, 2017 at 8:37 am

    stupse………..this crowd could really keep dey RH mout shut. 1.5 then 0 then .5 while using terms like anemic, sluggish, robust all at the same time. this world is being marched slowly to a global dust up and this crowd dat feel they comfortable will soon know what being uncomfortable just now

  11. Susan Renee
    Susan Renee December 18, 2017 at 9:27 am

    this year you mean in the next 12 days stupse

  12. Marsha Padmore
    Marsha Padmore December 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    ort wanna……

  13. archy perch December 18, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    The infrastructure of Barbados is superior; we have more roads; better health care; the NIS; a good transport system despite shortcomings, and I could go on and on. Way ahead of those others.

  14. Mark Marlon Phil
    Mark Marlon Phil December 18, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Dlp must go forever, forever forever, forever, forever forever..

  15. Heather Cole
    Heather Cole December 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Which one of these predictions is realistic? Time will tell.

  16. Bajan Patriot December 19, 2017 at 8:11 am

    The onlythings growing in barbados is the rich and well connected bank accounts.

  17. F.A.Rudder December 19, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Barbados must create an assembly board of National Scientist and Engineers for the next thirty years and beyond to assist the administrations with key Power Generation, Environmental, Ecological and Coastal Zone Management it a national pride and honor to have positive input for your nation.


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