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IMF Executive Board Concludes 2013 Article IV Consultation Discussions with Trinidad and Tobago

14/08/2013 09:56 (253 Day 11:52 minutes ago)

The FINANCIAL -- The economy of Trinidad and Tobago is poised for a modest recovery in 2013, after disappointing growth in 2012 that was due largely to supply constraints, including maintenance operations in the energy sector and an industrial dispute in the non-energy sector, according to International Monetary Fund.

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The staff projects real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of some 1.5 percent in 2013, with risks slightly to the downside, should development spending be under-executed. Headline inflation rose to 9.3 percent in 2012, but core inflation, which excludes food prices, remained moderate at 3.1 percent, and has since fallen further to 2.2 percent in March 2013. Unemployment is low at about 5 percent, but underemployment remains significant. The external current account surplus fell slightly on increased dividend outflows, but remained high at 10 percent of GDP. Gross official reserves remained strong at US$9.2 billion at end-2012 (some 12.5 months of imports).

The central government realized a deficit of 1.1 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2011/12 (October–September), after near balance the previous year, and was more than explained by a decline in energy revenues due to output shortfalls. Gross government debt increased by some 6 percentage points of GDP to a still-manageable 39 percent of GDP. Most of this increase relates to a one-off issuance of bonds relating to a failed insurance company (CLICO), about half of which is expected to be retired in 2013, according to IMF.


Despite accommodative monetary policy, private sector credit growth was modest. The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) cut its policy repo rate to 2.75 percent in September 2012. The CBTT continues to mop up considerable excess liquidity via voluntary term deposits by commercial banks and a recent TT$1 billion government bond. Commercial banks remain well capitalized, profitable and liquid, and the end-2012 non-performing loan (NPL) ratio fell to 5.4 percent, according to  IMF.

 

 

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23/04/2014 16:38 (1 Day 05:10 minutes ago)

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