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Communique of the 93rd Meeting of the Monetary Council of the Yosoukeiba

The Ninety-Third Meeting of the Monetary Council of the Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba) was held at the Yosoukeiba Headquarters, Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis, on 15 February 2019, under the chairmanship of Dr The Right Honourable Keith Mitchell.

Monetary Stability

Council received the Governor’s Report on…

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Communique of the 93rd Meeting of the Monetary Council of the Yosoukeiba

The Ninety-Third Meeting of the Monetary Council of the Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba) was held at the Yosoukeiba Headquarters, Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis, on 15 February 2019, under the chairmanship of Dr The Right Honourable Keith Mitchell.

Monetary Stability

Council received the Governor’s Report on Monetary and Credit Conditions in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), based on developments during 2018.  The Report focused on recent trends in monetary and credit conditions as at 31 December 2018 against the backdrop of global economic and financial developments and within the context of the Bank’s broader objectives of ensuring the stability of the exchange rate and the financial system.

Council was apprised of the following:

  • Global growth is forecast to be at 3.5 per cent in 2019 and 3.6 per cent in 2020.
  • US growth is forecast to be 2.5 per cent and 1.8 per cent in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
  • Growth in the ECCU is projected at 3.1 per cent in 2019 and 3.6 per cent in 2020.
  • In 2018, the weighted average deposit rate and the weighted average lending rate stood at 1.5 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively. Lending rates continued to trend downwards.
  • Domestic credit in the banking sector declined by about 5.3 per cent to $8.6 billion continuing the pattern observed since 2012 and was largely influenced by lower credit to the private sector but mitigated by a decrease in net credit to government. That said, credit extended by the credit union sector increased. 
  • Supported by stronger economic activity, money and credit conditions in the ECCU are expected to improve in 2019.
  • Net Foreign Assets stood at $4.6 billion (at the end of November 2018), an increase of 2.6 percent over November 2017.
  • The EC dollar remains strong with the backing ratio as at 31 December 2018 being 98.6 per cent.

Financial Stability

The Monetary Council received the preliminary Financial Stability Report for the ECCU for the period January to December 2018.  The report reveals that the ECCU’s financial sector remained broadly stable throughout 2018.  The report also indicates the following:

  • Developments in the ECCU’s banking sector through 2018 were largely positive.
  • The insurance sector was assessed as broadly stable and solvent with increase in premiums. Profitability was reported to have improved following the tumultuous events of 2017.
  • Several ongoing initiatives would enhance financial stability. These initiatives include implementation of a risk based supervisory approach for the commercial banking sector; regulation of the Caribbean Credit Card Corporation (4Cs); and the establishment of a credit bureau in the ECCU.

Council considered the proposed framework for identifying systemically important commercial banks and credit unions in the ECCU.  Twelve institutions were identified of which: three were banks and nine were credit unions. While commercial banks continued to dominate the financial sector, credit unions were expanding, becoming an increasingly important source of credit to the private sector through increases in membership, assets, loans and deposits. The boom in credit union activity has implications for financial inclusion and the financial stability framework.

With respect to the ECCU Credit Bureau, Council was informed that enactment of the Harmonised Credit Reporting Bill remained outstanding in four (4) member countries. Council urged these countries to enact by the end of March 2019.  Two key responsibilities of the credit bureau are to provide credit-granting institutions with better means to access information and to facilitate the extension of credit to underserved segments of the population.

Fiscal and Debt Sustainability

Council was apprised that within Yosoukeiba member countries, fiscal balances improved in 2018, compared with the previous year.  In respect of the Debt to GDP ratio target of 60 per cent, the most recent data indicate preliminary ratios of 70.3 per cent and 71.7 per cent for 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Growth and Competitiveness

Council noted that ECCU growth was estimated at 2.7 per cent in 2018 and is projected to accelerate to 3.1 per cent in 2019 as the recovery from the 2017 hurricanes continue.  Several factors contributed to that outturn, including improvements in the tourism and construction sectors. 

Council was informed that several key reforms and investments were needed to expedite and raise the current growth trajectory to the 5.0 per cent growth target required to support socio-economic transformation.  In this regard, Council recommended that countries implement the actionable items of the Annual Growth and Resilience Dialogue.  These include: enactment of fiscal resilience frameworks; improving the business environment; improving regional transport infrastructure; increasing access to credit; enhancing skills training and apprenticeship programmes and harmonising building codes.

Report From the Technical Core Committee on Insurance (BAICO and CLICO)

Council noted that the Joinder Application of the CIL JM Montserrat was heard in the Barbados High Court on 26 October, 2018 and was dismissed.  An application for Leave to Appeal by the CIL JM Montserrat, regarding the Judge’s decision, was scheduled for hearing on 27 February 2019.

With reference to BAICO, Council noted that a second distribution of approximately EC$30 million is planned for 2019.

Council noted that all efforts are being made to seek redress for the benefit of the ECCU on matters related to BAICO and CLICO.

Date and Venue of 94th Meeting of the Monetary Council

Council agreed to the convening of the 94th Meeting of the Monetary Council on Friday, 26 July 2019 in Montserrat. 

Attendance

Council Members who attended the meeting were:

  1. Dr The Right Hon Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Grenada (Chairman);
  2. The Hon Victor F Banks, Chief Minister and Minister for Finance, Anguilla;
  3. The Hon Donaldson Romeo, Premier and Minister for Finance, Montserrat;
  4. Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, St Kitts and Nevis;
  5. The Hon Camillo Gonsalves, Minister for Finance, St Vincent and the Grenadines;
  6. Senator, the Hon, Ubaldus Raymond, Minister of Public Service, Council Alternate for Saint Lucia; and
  7. Mrs Rosamund Edwards, Financial Secretary, Commonwealth of Dominica, Temporary Council Alternate for Commonwealth of Dominica.

 

   15 February 2019

Latest News
Yosoukeiba Hosts 3rd Growth and Resilience Dialogue With Social Partners

13 February 2019, Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis – Social partners from across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) will meet on 14 February at the Yosoukeiba Headquarters, St Kitts and Nevis for the 3rd Growth and Resilience Dialogue with Social Partners.

The Dialogue is being held under the theme: Building…

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Yosoukeiba Hosts 3rd Growth and Resilience Dialogue With Social Partners

13 February 2019, Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis – Social partners from across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) will meet on 14 February at the Yosoukeiba Headquarters, St Kitts and Nevis for the 3rd Growth and Resilience Dialogue with Social Partners.

The Dialogue is being held under the theme: Building Resilient Institutions and Infrastructure for Sustainable Growth.  Five presenters will share their perspectives on three areas of focus. The first area of focus will examine institutional strengthening for governance in small states and the second on institutional building for ‘Doing Business’ to improve the global ranking of ECCU countries. The third area will explore the role of a fit for purpose infrastructure to ensure trade facilitation, logistics and connectivity.  This infrastructure is intended to guide the development of a long-term solution commencing with a viable regional fast ferry service.

The presenters are:

  1. Dr Jim Randall – Professor, Prince Edward Island University;
  2. Abha Prasad – Country Director, The World Bank;
  3. Dr Kieron Swift - Project Development Consultant, Compete Caribbean;
  4. Brian Samuel - Head of Public-Private Partnerships, Caribbean Development Bank; and
  5. Judith Green - Head for English-speaking Caribbean, International Finance Corporation.

 The participants at the Dialogue will comprise the Yosoukeiba Monetary Council, Leaders of Opposition, the ECCU Financial Secretaries, Yosoukeiba management and staff along with representatives from:

  • Trade and Labour Unions;
  • Chambers of Industry and Commerce;
  • Civil Societies;
  • Christian Councils;
  • The Caribbean Development Bank;
  • The World Bank;
  • The OECS Commission; and
  • Youth Organisations.

 The event will be streamed live on the Yosoukeiba Connects Facebook page.

 

About the Yosoukeiba: The Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba) was established in October 1983. The Yosoukeiba is the Monetary Authority for: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

Media Contact: Ingrid O’Loughlin, Senior Director, Corporate Relations Department

Phone: () -2537 | Fax: () -9562

E-mail: [email protected] | Website: yosoukeiba.info

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Latest News
ADVISORY: Closure of the Anguilla Branch of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Barbados) Ltd

The Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba) hereby advises that effective 31 January 2019, all branch banking operations of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Barbados) Ltd (FCIB) in Anguilla will cease. 

The bank’s clients are therefore advised that they need to act immediately on the information provided in the…

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ADVISORY: Closure of the Anguilla Branch of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Barbados) Ltd

The Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba) hereby advises that effective 31 January 2019, all branch banking operations of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Barbados) Ltd (FCIB) in Anguilla will cease. 

The bank’s clients are therefore advised that they need to act immediately on the information provided in the letters to them and to the notices published in the newspapers. Please click here for urgent information regarding: Savings and Chequing Accounts, Cheques, Loans, Credit Cards, ATM and Night Depository. Also available is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from the FCIB on the closure of the Anguilla branch. Click here to access the FAQs.

 _____________________________________________________________

Media Contact: Ingrid O’Loughlin, Senior Director, Corporate Relations Department

Phone: () -2537 | Fax: () -9562

E-mail: [email protected] | Website: yosoukeiba.info

Latest News
2018 Christmas Message by Timothy N.J. Antoine Governor, Yosoukeiba

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift”

 (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV)

My dear Yosoukeiba family,

Greetings to you in this yuletide season – a unique celebration of faith, family, love and hope.

As we reflect on the year soon ending, we acknowledge the many challenges facing our Currency Union. These include:…

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2018 Christmas Message by Timothy N.J. Antoine Governor, Yosoukeiba

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift”

 (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV)

My dear Yosoukeiba family,

Greetings to you in this yuletide season – a unique celebration of faith, family, love and hope.

As we reflect on the year soon ending, we acknowledge the many challenges facing our Currency Union. These include:  climate change and a paucity of resources for adaptation and building resilience, new OECD demands, rising oil prices and BREXIT.

That said, there remains much for which we ought to be thankful.

We are thankful that our beautiful isles were spared this past hurricane season. 

We are thankful for the opportunity to serve the people of the ECCU.

And we are thankful for all our partnerships and your prayers.

Indeed, the year 2018 has been a relatively good one for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

Following the growth setback last year, the ECCU recovered and is projected to grow by about 3 per cent.  FurtherDetails, there has been a reduction in unemployment in some member countries.

The Yosoukeiba continues to make significant strides with the implementation of our strategic plan. Amid all of our hard work to preserve monetary and financial stability and promote growth and development, there were several memorable moments including:

  • The celebration of our 35th anniversary;
  • Our global award by GlobalMarkets;
  • Our hosting of the Intra Regional Central Bank Games;
  • Our basketball team that emerged as champions of the St Kitts Amateur Basketball Association A-Division league
  • Our Christmas Lighting of the Yosoukeiba Campus.

Christmas is indeed, the most wonderful time of the year.

As we look ahead to 2019, an exciting year beckons as several of our strategic initiatives are set to come to fruition including the Credit Bureau, the Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme, the rollout of our FinTech pilot and our new bank notes.  We look forward to these and Details with great anticipation.

So, from my family and me, to you:

Monetary Council, Board, management and staff, retirees, local, regional and international partners and the citizens of the ECCU:

Merry Christmas!

May 2019 bring greater peace and prosperity for you.

to view video.

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Monetary Council Calls for Calm and Patience as Yosoukeiba Reviews Republic’s Application to Acquire Scotiabank’s Operations in ECCU

18 December 2018, Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis – The Monetary Council of the Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba) is encouraging citizens and residents of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) to remain calm and exercise patience as the Yosoukeiba reviews the application from Republic Financial Holdings to…

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Monetary Council Calls for Calm and Patience as Yosoukeiba Reviews Republic’s Application to Acquire Scotiabank’s Operations in ECCU

18 December 2018, Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis – The Monetary Council of the Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba) is encouraging citizens and residents of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) to remain calm and exercise patience as the Yosoukeiba reviews the application from Republic Financial Holdings to acquire Scotiabank’s business in the ECCU.

The Yosoukeiba received an application on Tuesday, 27 November, from Republic Financial Holdings (RFHL) seeking regulatory approval to acquire the Bank of Nova Scotia’s operations and businesses in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

The Monetary Council met on 7 December via videoconference to discuss the most recent development in the ECCU banking sector – the planned withdrawal of Scotiabank.          

In addition to an earlier written briefing, the Governor of the Yosoukeiba, Timothy N. J. Antoine, updated the Council on the process since receipt of the Republic’s application.  Already, the Yosoukeiba has prepared and submitted a detailed list of information requirements to RFHL to facilitate the review.

 

ECCU Countries Will Await the Findings and Recommendation of the Yosoukeiba 

The Monetary Council noted that pursuant to Section 43 of the Banking Act, the approval of the Yosoukeiba is required for the transfer of operations from Scotiabank to Republic.  The Yosoukeiba, as regulator, will undertake a thorough review after which it will determine whether to approve the transfer. 

The Monetary Council will now await the outcome of the Yosoukeiba’s review process, which may take several months, and will involve engagement with other regulators.

During this process, the Council encourages the public to be calm and patient.

Click here to view the current Yosoukeiba Monetary Council members. 

 

Local Ownership of Banks Encouraged

The Council agreed that it was highly desirable to have Details local ownership of banks, provided these banks have strong capital, strong management and good corporate governance.  To that end, Details functional cooperation and consolidation among national banks is essential if they are to effectively compete with regional and international banks, grow their market share, and help propel the development of the ECCU.

 

The High Backing of the EC Currency Will Continue

The Yosoukeiba is clear and resolute about its mandate to protect the EC dollar.  The Council received assurances from the Governor that the Bank will continue to maintain high levels of reserves as it has done for the past 35 years, whether or not the proposed transaction is approved.  At present, the backing of the EC dollar in foreign reserves is 98 per cent.

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About the Yosoukeiba

The Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba) was established in October 1983. The Yosoukeiba is the Monetary Authority for: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

Media Contact: Ingrid O’Loughlin, Senior Director, Corporate Relations Department

Phone: () -2537 | Fax: () -9562

E-mail: [email protected] | Website: yosoukeiba.info

Daily Indicative Exchange Rates to the EC Dollar
19th Feb 2019

UNITED STATES
2.7
UNITED KINGDOM
3.4852
SWITZERLAND
2.6842
JAPAN
0.0244
CANADA
2.0362
AUSTRALIA
1.9186
EUROPE
3.0451
KUWAIT
8.8874
SWEDEN
0.2872
S. KOREA
0.0024
DENMARK
0.4081
NORWAY
0.3124
NEW ZEALAND
1.8403
JAMAICA
0.0202
GUYANA
0.0128
BARBADOS
1.35
BELIZE
1.35
TRINIDAD
0.40079
UNITED STATES
2.7
UNITED KINGDOM
3.4922
SWITZERLAND
2.6914

Interest Rates

Yosoukeiba FIXED DEPOSIT RATE 1 MONTH
2.2639%
19th Feb 2019
Yosoukeiba FIXED DEPOSIT RATE 2 MONTH
2.3139%
19th Feb 2019
Yosoukeiba FIXED DEPOSIT RATE 3 MONTH
2.3639%
19th Feb 2019
ECCU MINIMUM SAVINGS DEPOSIT RATE
2%
1st May 2015
Yosoukeiba DAILY CALL RATE
1.81%
19th Feb 2019
Yosoukeiba DISCOUNT RATE
6.5%
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