Caribbean Economies to Expand 2% This Year, Moody’s Says

Economic growth in the Caribbean, home to some of the world’s most-indebted countries, will accelerate this year on rebounding tourism and lower oil prices, Moody’s Investors Services said.

The region’s economies will expand 2 percent in 2015, up from 1.5 percent last year and ahead of the 0.9 percent forecast by the International Monetary Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean. Stabilizing debt ratios across the Caribbean after years of rising credit “will help support current rating levels for the next 12-18 months,” Moody’s said in the report on Wednesday.

“Although the rebound in tourism will help all Caribbean nations that rely on this industry, the individual credit effects will reflect each country’s dependence on this industry,” wrote Gabriel Torres, an analyst at Moody’s.

Improving tourism data “is credit positive” for several nations, including Belize and Jamaica, Moody’s said.

The Caribbean has suffered through at least nine debt defaults since 2003, with Grenada’s creditors agreeing to restructure $262 million in global bonds last month.