37TH BI-ANNUAL CARICOM CENTRAL BANK GOVERNORS’ MEETING (what we pleb’s are allowed to know)

{FILE IMAGE - T'dad & B'dos Gov's at Needham's Pt recently} The Governors’ meeting discussed the future mission of the Caribbean Centre for Money and Finance (CCMF), the 42 year old regional research institution funded by the regional central banks. The Centre, which currently produces the Caribbean Economic Performance Report, the Journal of Business, Finance and Economics in Emerging Economies, and a monthly Newsletter, has in addition been tasked with coordinating the regional Financial Stability Report.

The Governors of CARICOM central banks, met over the weekend & were updated on a regional project to produce a report on the stability of Caribbean Financial Systems by December 2012. The Regional Financial Stability Report will provide early warning of fragility within the financial systems of the region, and report on measures that financial regulators have taken to address such fragility. In this way the risk of failure of an important financial institution is minimised. In the event there is a failure in spite of everything, arrangements for prompt, coordinated corrective action are to be put in place.

The Governors previewed the forthcoming meeting of the Regional Consultative Group for the Americas of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), to be held in Mexico City on December 2nd. The FSB, set up as a cooperative mechanism among the Group of 20 countries, has now established regional advisory groups to involve non-G20 countries in the work of international financial reform. Among the English-speaking Caribbean, The Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman, Bermuda and BVI have been invited to join the Regional Consultative Group for the Americas. The Group will address issues of financial flows across borders, rules for phased implementation of Basel regulatory guidelines for banks, and the development of indicators for cross-border risks, and other financial topics.

Buoyant commodity prices strengthened economic growth in the commodity producing Caribbean countries, but tourism based economies have not recovered fully. Average growth to June was 1.65 percent for the region as a whole. Fiscal outcomes improved in many countries, but debt levels continued to rise. Improved foreign exchange inflows resulted in stronger current account performance for commodity producers, but the current account deficit widened in the service-based economies.

The participants noted that the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) has been a success story of an effective integration authority in the Caribbean. Not only has the organisation been a powerful and effective source of technical assistance, but it has also made effective use of Caribbean expertise by sharing individual country skills across the region. CARTAC has been a catalyst in the establishment of regional associations for regulators of insurance, pensions and debt, which have joined the older established organisations for economists and banking supervisors in recent years.

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