IMF: adjustments needed; rising debt concerns

St. Lucia’s near-term growth prospects are favorable, but policy adjustments will be needed to strengthen longer-term growth. The commencement of large public infrastructure projects is expected to substantially boost growth in 2020-22 but will raise public debt and weaken the external position. 

However, a deeper-than-expected slowdown in major source markets for tourism, energy price shocks, disruptions to global financial markets, and loss of CBR all represent downside risks. 

St. Lucia’s high vulnerability to natural disasters constitutes an ever-present risk to both growth and the fiscal outlook. Longer-term growth continues to be impeded by the high public debt, lingering vulnerabilities in the financial system, and structural impediments to private investment. 

On the other hand, there is an upside that infrastructure investment could catalyze a greater-than-expected expansion of the tourism sector and related activities. While the overall external position is assessed to be broadly consistent with the level implied by fundamentals and desirable policies, St. Lucia still has considerable competitiveness challenges, particularly in its non-tourism sector, that need to be addressed.

Read the full MF report here