Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has experienced steady growth in GDP in recent years (except in 1994), averaging over 3 percent annually since the mid-1990s. In 1999, GDP growth stood at 4.5 percent, a fall from the 1998 figure of 5.7 percent. This economic progress reflects a steady increase in tourism and the revenues generated by financial services, which has partly counter-balanced problems in the banana industry. Inflation has been low in recent years and, in 1999, was estimated at less than 1 percent. As a result, consumer prices are relatively low, and visitors from neighboring islands such as Grenada and Barbados now come to Saint Vincent to take advantage of lower prices.
|Exchange rates: St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
|East Caribbean dollars (EC$) per US$1|
|Note: The rate for St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been fixed since 1976.|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' financial stability is in part because of its membership in regional financial institutions. The Eastern Caribbean dollar, a currency shared with the 7 other members of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), is stable and has been pegged at a rate of EC$2.7: US$1 for many years. This means that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is not particularly vulnerable to fluctuating exchange rates , although transactions with Europe have been affected by the low value of the euro. There are plans for ECCB member countries to participate in a regional stock exchange, further integrating the economies of the small islands, but by early 2001 little real progress had been made.