The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is projecting that Caribbean economies will grow, on average, 1.7 per cent this year – its highest rate of growth since 2008.
The new projections which were released recently during a press conference in Santiago, point to 0.5 per cent growth in the wider Latin America and Caribbean region.
But giving a breakdown of how that growth would be recorded, the United Nations body said South America would contract by 0.4 per cent while Central America and Mexico would grow by 2.8 per cent, and the Caribbean would expand by 1.7 per cent.
ECLAC’s projections as detailed in The Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2015 predicts that Panama will lead the regional expansion with a six per cent increase, followed by Antigua and Barbuda at 5.4 per cent and the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, both with 4.8 per cent growth.
In its report, ECLAC indicated that the Caribbean has seen a marked improvement in its fiscal position, although the high level of public debt continues to weigh heavily on growth and investment.
“In the Caribbean, the improvement in the fiscal deficit seen in 2014 continued in the first quarter of 2015, as fiscal revenues rose by 0.3 per cent and spending fell by 0.1 per cent,” it said.
The Commission noted that Caribbean countries are taking large strides to boost tax revenues, which will help them to close their fiscal gaps.