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Nov 1, 2017

P.M. Counts on Tourism Boost to Overcome Pain

Dean Barrow

The drawing down on seventy-eight million U.S. dollars from the Central Bank’s reserves at this time of year raises serious concerns.  Will the local economy be adversely impacted by the withdrawal of such a significant sum within a nine-day period?  According to PM Barrow, it should not be a cause for worry since the funds are being held separately from the day-to-day monies being used to float the economy.  He also provides assurance that the recent upturn in tourism numbers should provide an additional boost going into the end of the calendar year and that there is more than fifteen weeks of imports to cover the reserves.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“If this is the season when there are lots of imports for which we must pay, this is also the season there are lots of exports and the tourism service, you may consider, is a kind of export.  With what has happened in terms of Irma and Maria and so much of Caribbean tourism having been wiped out, there is a diversion to Belize and already the tourism people are telling you the results of that are obvious, they are evident.  They are being felt. When you are talking about the economy and trading and the place of foreign exchange that is different from the Central Bank’s reserves you know.  The Central Bank’s reserves are not used in the context of the day-to-day dealing with foreign exchange.  They are what they are, reserves and apart from serving as government’s banker, they are there to act as cover.  Central Bank might, from time to time, have to draw down on some of its reserves if the regular system from which merchants and suppliers and the commercial people are expected to derive their foreign exchange, the tightness then, the Central Bank would no doubt intervene and perhaps make available some of its reserves.  But in the context of the outlook for this season through to the end of the year, there would appear to be absolutely no need for that to happen because I am saying, especially in terms of tourism, it’s going to be a huge upsurge that will lead to this additional inflow of foreign exchange.”

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