“EC Dollar Very Strong” – ECCB Governor Timothy Antoine

ECCB Governor Timothy Antoine
ECCB Governor Timothy Antoine

THE stability of the Eastern Caribbean dollar has delivered low to moderate inflation in the eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

So said the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Timothy Antoine in an address delivered at the bank’s 40th Anniversary Global Conference in St. Kitts and Nevis Wednesday.

“We have maintained a stable EC dollar, pegged at US$1 to EC$2.70 (since 1976), backed by strong reserve buffers as the recent pandemic and preceding shocks attest. Today, I confirm that the EC dollar remains very strong with a current backing of 94.7 per cent,” Antoine said.

“Our region’s strong post-pandemic recovery continues and the ECCB projects growth of 6.5 per cent this year and 5 per cent next year,” Antoine added, noting that “our current debt-to-GDP ratio now stands at 73 per cent, having reached 88 per cent as a consequence of the largest growth shock on record (16.5 per cent) occasioned by the pandemic.”

“At the commencement of our 40th Anniversary Celebrations, I posed the question and issued a challenge, ‘What would it take to double the size of our economies over the next decade?’ This is the question that we have been contemplating all year and on which we continue to cogitate. We have articulated some perspectives on this question through what we call our theatres of transformation and remain open to new ideas and thinking on this challenging aspiration.” Antoine said.

Antoine said that the shocks kept coming and that Climate Risk is Financial Risk, Digital Innovation for Financial Inclusion and Resilience is needed and Financial Stability, Financial Inclusion and Economic Resilience require strong regional and international cooperation.

He underscored this by stating that a 2018 IMF study found that in the Caribbean, the frequency of disasters is seven times higher than anywhere in the world and losses from these disasters are 6.5 times more than the global average.

“Indeed, our region faces wipeout events, as was the case in 2004 with Hurricane Ivan in Grenada (200% of GDP) and in 2017 with Hurricane Maria in Dominica (226% of GDP). Moreover, Caribbean countries experience annual losses to weather events of 2.5 per cent of GDP.” Antoine said.

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