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Caribbean Optimistic As Global Economy Recovers

by Phillip Morton, Investors Offshore.com

18 December 2009


According to a University of the West Indies survey, St Kitts and Nevis’ financial sector has been the most resilient in the face of the financial economic crisis.

Among the countries included within the survey’s scope – the nine Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries and Barbados – St Kitts and Nevis has the most positive investment outlook over the next 12 months, and the most positive employment prospects over the next six months.

The report noted that despite the much-publicized economic slowdown of the past year, the majority of companies in St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Dominica reported unchanged or improved financial performance over the previous six months.

The region has not been unscathed, however. The majority of companies in St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados report a worsening of financial performance, with companies in St Lucia and Antigua reporting the most significant declines in financial performance with nearly two-thirds of companies reporting a worsening of financial performance.

Of the companies surveyed, those in Grenada, Barbados and Antigua expect financial performance to improve over the next six months, while responses from businesses in Dominica, St Kitts and St Vincent were generally more pessimistic. On the whole, the majority of companies expect conditions to improve.

Regarding investment opportunities, the survey found that the outlook for the corporate sector in Barbados and the OECS is bleak for the next six to 12 months.

“Results indicate that the majority of companies have no capital investments of any form planned over the next six or twelve months,” the survey said, adding that companies in St Kitts have the most optimistic investment outlook.

Evaluating employment opportunities in the coming year, the survey said that the majority of companies in Barbados and the OECS expect the level of employment in the corporate sector to remain unchanged or increase slightly over the next six months.

“Companies in St Kitts and Nevis and Barbados are the most optimistic about employment prospects over the next six months, while companies in St Lucia and Grenada are the most pessimistic,” the survey found.

“Across industries, companies in the financial and government services industries are the most optimistic about employment prospects over the next six months.”

In terms of the global economic outlook, the majority of companies in all countries expect the global economy to improve over the next six months, with companies in Barbados and St Lucia being the most optimistic, while those in St Vincent and Dominica the least optimistic.

“Companies in Barbados and the OECS appear to expect the economic slowdown to last for another six months at least, but they expect improvements in the next twelve months. The prospects for improvement appear to be driven by an expectation that the global economy will recover in the next six to twelve months,” the survey concludes.


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