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Euromoney Country Risk

The 2014 guide to Barbados: An underrated sovereign

Barbados is one of the most diverse economies in the Caribbean. It’s certainly the most robust, drawing in revenues from a wide range of industries (tourism, business services, manufacturing, agriculture), which feed into the region’s most politically and economically stable state.

Inflation is low, the government has measures in place to bring the budget deficit to a more sustainable level and foreign reserves are carefully husbanded. The jewel in the Caribbean crown, Barbados also boasts manageable debt, low corruption and an orderly society organized and run by consensus. In short, this is as stable a country as you’ll find, despite being surrounded by a curve of islands, many of which are politically unpalatable, racked with debt or, as with many frontier nations, struggling for growth in a turbulent world. Barbados, as stable as Singapore or Switzerland, and a key economic and financial ally of the UK, US and Canada, suffers none of these travails. Yet its sovereign rating drags. In November 2013, Standard & Poor’s cut the long-term rating of Barbados to BB-minus from BB-plus, citing external pressures and a small current account deficit.

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