During 2019, the performance of the Barbados economy built on the gains of 2018. As anticipated, economic activity remained subdued but the international reserves increased by $481 million, raising the import reserve cover to over 18 weeks. This reflected borrowings from the international financial institutions, the on-going suspension of commercial external debt payments and a vibrant foreign exchange market that allowed commercial banks to sell foreign exchange to the Central Bank. The public finances also improved and, with the conclusion of the external debt restructuring in December, the debt-to-GDP ratio fell further. Towards year-end, Standard & Poor’s upgraded Barbados’ credit rating, an important step in restoring investor confidence and in creating the basis for improved access to capital markets and lower cost funds for the private and public sectors over the medium-term.
Watch the full review and press conference below: