ECCB Monetary Council discuss stability, credit, cannabis and digital currency

The Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank held its 95th meeting on February 14th 2020 in St. Kitts discussing the region’s monetary and financial stability, fiscal and debt sustainability and growth and competitiveness.

The meeting also received updates on the BAICO and CLICO settlement payments. The Council, comprising OECS Ministers of Finance were also

informed of amendments to the ECCB ACT and the Insurance and Pension Bills.

Monetary and credit conditions improved slightly during 2019 with the ECCB noting that the stability of the EC dollar is firmly entrenched with a 99.0 percent backing by foreign reserves.

Domestic credit extended by the commercial banking sector was projected to increase by 1.1 per cent at the end of December 2019.

The banking sector was assessed as stable with improvement in some areas. The ECCB reports that the credit union sector continued to grow as a significant player in the provision of financial services in the ECCU. The insurance sector remained stable following large payouts in 2018.

The Council approved the proposed amendments to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Act to facilitate the Bank’s creation and issuance of digital EC currency.

The Monetary Council received a presentation on the Uniform Insurance and Pension Bill. The purposes of the Bill are to repeal and replace the individual Insurance Acts within the ECCU countries. It will also regulate insurance businesses and privately administered pension plans and provide for the enhanced protection of consumers.

The Council approved the revised Eastern Caribbean Home Mortgage Bank Agreement and recommended its enactment in member countries.

Also given approval was the publication of the Bank’s report styled “Medicinal Cannabis Revolution: Challenges in Banking the Budding Industry in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union”.

The full ECCB communique can be read here.