Impact of the global economic crisis on the Eastern Caribbean highlighted at ECCB Monetary Council meeting

ECCB Headquarters

ZIZ News…March 6, 2010 – The sixty-sixth meeting of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) was held at the ECCB Headquarters here in St Kitts yesterday under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr Denzil Douglas.

Speaking at the early evening press conference which followed the meeting, Prime Minister Douglas informed the media of some of the key aspects which were addressed during the meeting. He said one of the main issues under discussion was a report received from the Governor of the ECCB, Sir K. Dwight Venner, which looked at monetary and credit conditions. Prime Minister Douglas said:

“The report outlined two important areas: One the development in monetary and credit conditions over the last 12 months, ending November 2009. Secondly, it gave an outlook for the near to medium term in the context of the global economic slump and financial market turmoil that we have been experiencing.”

Prime Minister Douglas also spoke of how the Monetary Council looked at how the region’s currency had been affected by the global economic downturn:

“In particular the Council noted the impact of the global crisis on the Eastern Caribbean currency union economies intensified during the period 2009 in terms of economic activity as measured by real GDP and which was estimated to have declined by some 7.4%. Of course, a number of factors contributed to that decline and we also noted how a decline in economic activity had an impact on central government’s fiscal operations as was reflected in a 7.2% decline in current reserves in the first nine months of 2009. Although recent data suggests that economic and financial conditions are now stabilizing in some of the major industrial economies, the union economies are expected to experience a slow recovery from the global downturn.”

Also during the press conference Prime Minister Douglas informed media representatives that during the meeting the council recognised the presence of the Council’s new members. This included the Chief Minister of Anguilla, the Honourable Hubert Hughes, who was welcomed and congratulated on his recent election victory.

Congratulations were also extended to Prime Minister Douglas who returned as Council member after two years. In addition, the Council also expressed its sincere thanks to those who served in the recent past, namely Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris and Mr Victor Banks of Anguilla.

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