The EC dollar maintains its strength as the region continues to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The disclosure came from the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine, in a Christmas message.
“Our EC dollar remains strong, and our region continued its recovery from the pandemic with growth of about 6 percent. This performance would have been even better were it not for our current challenges with regional air connectivity,” Antoine explained.
The Governor acknowledged that 2022 had been tough for the ECCU family.
He noted the loss of loved ones, including three beloved ECCB colleagues.
“We extend heartfelt condolences to all those in the ECCU who suffered the loss of loved ones this past year,” Antoine said.
And he observed that even as the region navigates the lingering effects of the pandemic, it is confronting high and stubborn inflation that decimates the income of the most vulnerable households and businesses.
Antoine said the inflation spike had placed ECCU member governments under renewed fiscal pressure as the public finances started recovering.
He also recalled that several ECCU countries suffered from natural disasters.
“But we are grateful to have been spared the direct impact of major hurricanes,” the ECCB Governor said.
In addition, he stated that the region must take urgent collective action to address issues such as crime, food and nutrition security, air connectivity, human capital formation, and digital transformation.
Regarding economic prospects, the ECCU expects to grow by between 3 and 6 percent.
Antoine observed that the range reflects the uncertain economic environment, which carries significant downside risks.
He explained that several factors would influence growth performance.
Antoine mentioned geopolitical factors and the extent to which major central banks, especially the US central bank, could reduce inflation while avoiding or minimising a recession.
At the same time, Antoine indicated that the ECCB would assiduously pursue its Resilience and Transformation Agenda.