Big economic decline in first quarter

Barbados’ economy contracted by nearly 20 per cent as tourist arrivals virtually vanished between January and March.

Governor Cleviston Haynes reported this in his first quarter economic review this morning and said the outlook had worsened.

The Central Bank of Barbados, which in January forecast the economy would expand by just under five per cent, now expects growth to be as little as one per cent.

Haynes attributed the 19.8 per cent decline, which was the fourth consecutive quarter of economic downturn, to a 96 per cent slump in visitor arrivals.

With the intake from tourism down, the Governor said there was an $86 million reduction in the foreign reserves. Government also spend more foreign exchange on debt repayments and to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.

However he said this was not a major worry as Barbados had the “buffer” of $2.6 billion in reserves.