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Central Bank hosts 49th Annual Monetary Studies Conference

The Central Bank of Belize is hosting the 49th Annual Monetary Studies Conference in collaboration with the Caribbean Center for Money and Finance, CCMF.  The CCMF was established by Central Banks of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI), to carry out studies and provide information for monetary and financial policy issues for the Caribbean region.  The conference is the main event held by the CCMF and is hosted each year by a member Central Bank.  This year it is held under the theme “Repositioning Small States for New Global Realities: Prospects and Challenges”.  The participants look at various economic and financial matters of interest and relevance to the region. Asusena Novelo, Director of Research at the Central Bank of Belize told us more about this year’s focus.

Asusena Novelo, Director of Research

“After the financial crisis of 2007-2008 the whole world moved into a slow growth environment and so small states have to find a way to cope with that so we have several other areas that we are looking at.We are looking at fiscal and monetary policies, we are looking at financial system interconnectedness, we are looking at climate change and the impact of those- how do you build resilience to mitigate risks and vulnerabilities arising from that and so those are some of the key areas that we are looking at.”

Another area of interest is the issue of de-risking, which the entire Caribbean has been subject to.

Asusena Novelo, Director of Research

“I think most countries have lost and regained correspondent banking relationships. In Belize in 2016 two of our banks had lost their correspondent banking relationships but by the end of the year all banks had a correspondent banking relationship but what that has done is that it has slowed the speed of transactions and now with the new heightened know your customer’s customers there are far more heightened due diligence on each international transaction that goes out so that increases your cost in terms of verifying the authenticity of that transaction and it may also slow the speed of that transaction if the correspondent bank abroad has questions about that transaction and you need to get the information for them. All the banks have instituted anti-money laundering monitoring standards they have heightened that and right now the country is undergoing the National Risk Assessment where you look at all the different areas of financial intermediation- you assess what are the weaknesses of those areas so that you can address it and bring your practices in line with international standards.”

Participants include representatives from various Caribbean Central banks, the University of the West Indies, the University of Belize, Galen University and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, the International Monetary Fund as well as other regional academic and financial institutions.  The conference concludes on Friday.