||Central Bank Of Barbados
Every quarter, the Central Bank of Barbados publishes its review of Barbados’ economic performance. The video review, delivered by the Governor, is livestreamed on the Bank’s website and YouTube channel, and also posted in its entirety – about 10 minutes – on its Facebook page. These reviews provide insight into how the economy is faring, so if you haven’t been watching them, you should be. Here’s when they take place and what you should be listening out for.
The review is usually released about a month after the end of the previous quarter and covers Barbados’ economic performance so far in the calendar year. This means that while the review at the end of the first quarter will look at January to March only, the one at the end of the second quarter will cover the first six months of the year, and the one at the end of the third quarter looks at the period January to September. The year’s first review, the one that is usually held in January, actually reports on Barbados’ economic performance for the entire previous year.
In the review, the Governor shares key statistics – indicators – that reveal the health of Barbados’ economy. He usually gives an update on economic growth – the increase in GDP (Gross Domestic Product), or put another way, in how much the value of the goods and services Barbados’ produces has increased by, relative to the same time the previous year – as well as on the debt to GDP ratio, which compares how much Barbados owes to the value of what it produces.
The Governor also speaks about the fiscal deficit – how much more the Government is spending than it is earning (If the Government is earning more than it is spending, that would be called a fiscal surplus). The fiscal deficit is tracked through the fiscal year, so if the Governor mentions “an overall reduction in the fiscal deficit from the previous year”, he is not referring to the calendar year, but rather to the 12 months starting from April and ending at the end of March, since Barbados’ fiscal year is April 1 to March 31.
The quarterly review usually includes other important indicators such as unemployment, the level of international reserves, and the retail price index – how much prices have increased over the past 12 months – as well as an overview of how tourism, one of our biggest sectors, is performing. It typically ends with a forecast for how much the economy is projected to grow as well as the Central Bank’s prescription for what action is needed to strengthen it.
The Central Bank of Barbados’ quarterly economic review provides timely, credible information, and now that you know the areas that help to tell the story of Barbados’ economy, you can keep abreast of how it is performing and of how you can to help improve it.