Saint Lucia is a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique.
The recent change in the European Union import preference regime and the increased competition from Latin American bananas have made economic diversification increasingly important in Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, which is Saint Lucia's main source of revenue. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry. Despite negative growth in 2011, economic fundamentals remain solid, and GDP growth should recover in the future.
In early 1981, the government-owned St. Lucia National Bank and the St. Lucia Development Bank were opened. There were eight commercial banks as of 2000, including the St. Lucia Cooperative Bank, the Bank of Nova Scotia, Barclays, CIBC Caribbean, Caribbean Banking Corporation, the Republic Bank, and the Royal Bank of Canada. St. Lucia is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which is responsible for the administration of the country's monetary policies, the regulation of exchange control, and supervision of commercial banks and other financial institutions for the islands belonging to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. The Central Bank has special arrangements for discounting loans made by commercial banks to productive sectors, such as tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. The interest rates are normally below the commercial banks' lending rates. In 1999, the St. Lucia National Commercial Bank offered public shares for the first time, receiving an investment of over us$11 million. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand deposits—an aggregate is commonly known as M1—were equal to $115.4 million. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $502.9 million.
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority [formerly Financial Sector Supervision Unit (FSSU)] is the single regulatory body which licenses, supervises and regulates the operations of the financial sector. There are six commercial banks in Saint Lucia (2011). Three are locally incorporated: 1st National Bank Saint Lucia, Bank of Saint Lucia and RBTT Bank Caribbean. The other three are registered as branches of multinational financial institutions: Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank and Royal Bank of Canada. In addition to this, there are 55 non-banking financial institutions, the most of any Eastern Caribbean Currency Union country, which includes insurance companies, development banks, credit unions and offshore banks (2012).
|Agriculture||Bananas, coconuts, cocoa, carrot, cabbage, pumpkin, avocados, mangoes and other citrus fruits.|
|Manufacture||Electronic goods, toys, cardboard cartons, clothing, rum, tobacco products, coconut products, concrete blocks, and beer.|
|Services (Including financial)||79.5% (2013 estimate)|
|Bank of Saint Lucia||Banking|
|EC Global Insurance||Insurance|
|Royal Caribbean Lines||Shipping|
|Cable & Wireless||Telecom|
|St. Lucia Electricity||Utilities|
The Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange Ltd (ECSE) was incorporated in St Kitts under the St Kitts Companies Act and began operations on 19th October 2001. Along with its two wholly-owned subsidiaries, the Eastern Caribbean Central Securities Registry (ECCSR) and the Eastern Caribbean Central Securities Depository (ECCSD), the ECSE operates a regional securities market facilitating the buying and selling of a range financial products, including corporate stocks and bonds and Government securities. It is the first fully electronic regional exchange in the entire Western Hemisphere, with completely paperless trading. It also has the fastest settlement period for trade execution at T+1. Unlike many exchanges, regionally and globally, it is a public ‘for profit’ limited liability company, with 49 shareholders in 11 Caribbean countries. The ECSE Group offers a full range of securities trading and ancillary services to listed and non-listed companies in the entire CARICOM region.
The Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange is a regional securities market, established by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and licensed under the Securities Act, uniform regional legislation governing securities market activities. The ECSE is designed to facilitate the buying and selling of financial products, including corporate stocks and bonds and government
securities, for the eight ECCB member territories of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is the first regional securities market in the Western Hemisphere.
Progress in the aftermath of the crisis was generally sluggish and very limited in the OECS. However, the impact of the global financial crisis on St. Lucia’s GDP growth was milder than in other OECS countries. St. Lucia’s economy grew an average of 1.9 percent during the pre-crisis period (2000-2007) and 1.3 percent during the crisis (2008- 2010) The OECS countries’ economy grew by 3.5 percent on average prior to the crisis and declined 1.2 percent on average during the period from 2008 to 2010. Preliminary estimates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicate that St. Lucia’s GDP was expected to contract for a third consecutive year in 2014.2 Since the crisis, St. Lucia’s major sources of growth have suffered from declining competitiveness and weak external demand related to slow recovery in advanced economies. At the onset of the crisis, the contribution of construction, tourism, and agriculture to real GDP growth declined significantly and have not recovered since. The subdued growth performance of the OECS during the global financial crisis was worsened by weakening competitiveness of the tourism sector. The Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s (ECCU) share of tourism receipts from its traditional sources such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada declined by 37 percent.. The region was not able to attract visitors from other potential markets with higher growth.
The decline of tourism and of construction activities severely affected the banking sector in St. Lucia and led to a credit crunch. Traditionally, the banking sector in St. Lucia faces high delinquency rates and has a large exposure to tourism-related real estate. Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) in the banking system have been rapidly rising since 2008. On average, NPLs rose from 15.5 percent in 2012 to approximately 22 percent in November 2013. Banks have increased loan loss provisions, and have become very selective about lending. High numbers of delinquencies and weak domestic conditions have prevented recovery of liquidity. In addition, with high lending rates and stricter lending requirements by banks, credit conditions have not improved. Private credit remained flat over the past three years — further hindering recovery of major domestic industries. A series of natural disasters between 2010 and 2012 compounded the negative impact of the crisis. Hurricane Tomas damaged roads, bridges, electricity and other infrastructure in St. Lucia in 2010. Tropical Storm Ernesto did further damage in 2012. A major outbreak of a banana leaf disease5 in 2011 further set back St. Lucia’s already declining banana exports.
The negative impacts of the 2008 crisis and natural disasters combined with St. Lucia’s lax fiscal policies led to persistent fiscal deficits. The fiscal balance in St. Lucia deteriorated in 2009, when the drag of the global crisis began to be felt in the island’s economy. In 2012, the overall deficit rose to 9.3 percent of GDP, and the primary deficit to 5.8 percent, as the newly-elected government undertook expansionary fiscal policy to support growth and boost employment.6 As a result of the government’s fiscal consolidation effort, the overall deficit was reduced by over 36 percent in 2013/14 — down to 5.7 percent of GDP from 9.2 percent the previous year.7 The reduction was driven mainly by cuts in capital expenditures. Flat FDI growth, further borrowing in the Regional Government Securities Market, and continuing fiscal deficits caused the country’s public debt to grow. St. Lucia’s public debt to GDP ratio rose to around 80 percent of GDP in 2013 from the pre-crisis level of 57 percent of GDP (International Monetary Fund, 2014). The reduction in foreign and public investment has diminished the country’s medium- and long-term growth prospects.
The French were the island's first European settlers. They signed a treaty with the native Caribe Indians in 1660. England took control of the island from 1663 to 1667. In ensuing years, it was at war with France 14 times, and rule of the island changed frequently (it was seven times each ruled by the French and British). In 1814, the British took definitive control of the island. Because it switched so often between British and French control, Saint Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West Indies". Representative government came about in 1840 (with universal suffrage from 1953). From 1958 to 1962, the island was a member of the Federation of the West Indies. On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations associated with the United Kingdom. Saint Lucia is a mixed jurisdiction, meaning that it has a legal system based in part on both the civil law and English common law. The Civil Code of St. Lucia of 1867 was based on the Quebec Civil Code of 1866, as supplemented by English common law-style legislation. It is also a member of La Francophonie. The island nation celebrates its independence every year with a public holiday. The financial sector has weathered the global financial crisis, but the recession has hurt tourism.
In the mid-twentieth century, Saint Lucia joined the West Indies Federation (1958–1962) when the colony was dissolved. In 1967, Saint Lucia became one of the six members of the West Indies Associated States, with internal self-government. In 1979 it gained full independence under Sir John Compton of the conservative United Workers party (UWP), who served as prime minister from 1982 to 1996, after which he was succeeded by Vaughan Lewis. Dr. Kenny Davis Anthony of the Labor Party was prime minister from 1997 to 2006. In 2006, the UWP, again led by Compton, won control of parliament. In May 2007, after Compton suffered a series of small strokes, Finance and External Affairs Minister Stephenson King became acting prime minister and succeeded Compton as prime minister when the latter died in September 2007. In November 2011, the Honorable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony was re-elected as prime minister for a third time. An educated workforce and improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities have attracted foreign investment in tourism and in petroleum storage and transshipment. However, with the US, Canada, and Europe in recession, tourism declined by double digits in early 2009.
(Former prime minister)
The East Caribbean dollar (XCD) is the currency of all seven full members and one associate member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. It has existed since 1965, is the successor to the British West Indies dollar, and it is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $ or, alternatively, EC$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. The EC$ is subdivided into 100 cents. It has been pegged to the United States dollar since July 7, 1976. Anguilla's local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, which is fixed to the U.S. dollar at $2.72(EC) to $1(USD). The U.S. dollar is accepted pretty much everywhere on the island. While visiting Anguilla, you can receive change in either U.S. dollars or Eastern Caribbean dollars or even both. Airports and hotels have currency exchanges but go to a bank to get the best rates. Before leaving your home country, exchange some money for travel incidentals such as tipping at the airport and ground transportation to your accommodations. This is good advice for U.S. citizens, as well. Even though most places accept U.S. currency, it's always good to be prepared in case something out of the ordinary happens. You don't want to worry about getting Eastern Caribbean money while you're trying to get settled in.
Despite the dominance of the euro since January 2002 within the mother country, Holland, the legal tender on the Dutch side of St. Maarten is still the Netherlands Antilles florin (NAF); the official exchange rate is NAF 1.79 for each $1. U.S. dollars are really the coin of the realm here, and prices in hotels and most restaurants and shops are designated in dollars. On the French side (as well as on St. Barts), the official monetary unit is the euro, with most establishments widely quoting and accepting either dollars or NAF guilders as well. At press time, the U.S. dollar was trading at $1.20 to the euro. Anguilla's official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, though U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere; the exchange rate is set permanently at roughly 2.70EC to $1.
Central Bank issued a new series of banknotes like the preceding issues, but omit both the bar code and the country code letterings which form part of the serial number on current notes. In 2012, the East Caribbean Central Bank issued a series of banknotes with Braille features in an effort to provide notes which are easier for blind and visually impaired persons to use. The raised Braille characters on the upgraded notes feature a Cricket theme in the form of balls and stumps. These characters have been added to the 10-, 20-, 50-, and 100 dollar notes.
|National Song||"Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia"|
|Currency||East Caribbean dollar (XCD)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||2.055 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||1.6 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$11782.928 (PPP)|
61.5% Roman Catholic
10.4% Seventh-day Adventist
East Indian 2.4%
Other Or Unspecified 3.1%
Queen – Elizabeth II[γ]
Prime Minister – Allen Chastanet
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||82.932 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||19.759 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|