Cricket World Cup delivering an 'all rounder' to West Indies economies says Scotia Economics



    Beyond the field, the 2007 event is 'lofting' economic expansion and
    generating positive long-term benefits for the region through tourism
    growth, infrastructure investment and regional integration.

    TORONTO, April 20 /CNW/ - As the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC 2007)
heads into its final dramatic innings, Scotia Economics expects that the
international event will make a positive impact on the Caribbean region. Its
research indicates that, as the third largest sporting event in the world, CWC
2007 will have a significant direct and indirect effect on foreign investment,
tourism and infrastructure development in the nine host countries, continuing
well after the event concludes on April 29th.
    "You could say the Cricket World Cup will deliver an 'all rounder' to the
West Indies," says Pablo Bréard, Vice President, Scotia Economics, referring
to the cricket term for a player who excels in at least two of three key game
skills. "The event has triggered considerable near-term investment spending on
hotels and facilities construction, boosted demand for goods and services and
inspired strong foreign currency inflows."
    Bréard adds that the short term benefits of the CWC 2007 will be mirrored
by positive longer-term gains for the Caribbean economies as a result of
exposure for the tourism sector, improved infrastructure development and
regional cooperation. "In the past the West Indies economies have faced
economic challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, the need to compete
with other aggressive tourism destinations for traveler dollars and
significant macroeconomic imbalances faced by national governments," observes
Bréard. "The financial investments and political advances achieved through the
CWC 2007 will help many West Indies nations tackle these challenges in the
years ahead."

    Expected high 'off-the-pitch' scores
    Scotia Economics notes that the Caribbean region's economy is expected to
grow by around 5.5 per cent in 2007, compared with more than 8 per cent growth
rate in 2006, in large part due to the CWC 2007. The region's economy has been
underpinned by event preparations over the last few years, including resorts
and facility construction. In fact, host country governments have invested
approximately US$500 million in upgrades to airports, roads, power generation
and information and communications technology, around US$300 million spent on
stadium development and another $40 million on temporary facilities. Overall,
CWC projects have employed more than 10,000 persons.
    Foreign direct investments are anticipated to generate between US$500 -
700 million. Tourism spending will be boosted by an estimated 100,000 event
visitors. CWC officials add that the World Cup's estimated worldwide audience
of 1.5 billion - including television viewers in non-traditional tourism
markets such as fast-growing India - will produce a positive, long-term
marketing impact.
    Scotia Economics notes one less positive outcome: excess demand for goods
and services may have caused upward price pressures for transportation,
accommodations, food and other services. They add that Caribbean currencies
should remain relatively stable over the spring in the context of strong
foreign currency inflows and favourable macroeconomic conditions. The games
are expected to affect the current accounts of host countries in opposite
ways, with tourism receipts balancing the buoyed imports such as construction
materials required by games organizers.

    Bowling strong growth in Jamaica
    As Jamaica is a co-host for the CWC 2007, its tourism sector will be on a
positive track leading economic growth this year. Jamaica's total CWC
expenditure, on facilities such as Sabina Park and Trelawny Stadium, has been
approximately $8 billion Jamaican (US$100 million). Organizers expected to see
approximately US$9 million in revenue from island ticket sales and an
estimated 20,000 visitors who will spend an average of US$1,300, for a total
of US$26 million. They project that the country will receive approximately
US$400 million in foreign direct investments from the CWC 2007 between 2007
and 2012, and new non-traditional exports worth nearly US$200 million.
    Overall, Scotia Economics observes that Jamaica's economic outlook is
brightening with inflation trending downwards while output growth shows signs
of a moderate pick-up. They predict that the Jamaican economy is poised to
expand by approximately 3 per cent year over year in 2007-2008, with tourism
and mining, supported by major fixed investments, serving as the main growth
engines.

    Bowling strong growth in Trinidad & Tobago
    As a co-host for the CWC 2007, Trinidad & Tobago's tourism industry will
be boosted by the event which has already played a big role in supporting the
construction industry. That sector is growing by nearly 15 per cent year over
year in real terms. Government and the private sector have invested
considerably to polish the country's image by upgrading hotels and stadiums.
In addition, the launch of Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Airlines, an
official carrier for event participants, will also support national economic
growth.
    Overall, Scotia Economics observes that Trinidad and Tobago's resource
boom will support continued economic expansion and healthy fiscal and current
account surpluses. The economy will remain on a favourable expansion
trajectory in 2007-2008 with real growth expected to average about 7 per cent.
The oil and gas sector, fuelled by high energy prices and increased capacity,
will continue to be the main driver of local economic performance.

    Bowling strong growth in Barbados
    As a co-host for the CWC 2007, Barbados' tourism sector - which expanded
by an estimated 2.5 per cent in 2006 - is expected to perform strongly, with
approximately 27,000 event visitors and close to 750 media attendees.
Government spending on infrastructure projects and redevelopment projects,
such as the US$40 million enlargement of Kensington Oval and upgrades to
Grantley Adams International Airport, have spurred a boom in the construction
sector. While official estimates have not yet been published, total government
expenditures for the CWC 2007 are estimated at US$150 million.
    Scotia Economics expects the Barbados economy to stay on a robust growth
trajectory throughout 2008 while inflation will trend downwards. In fact the
Barbadian economy will grow by about 4 per cent per year through 2008, led by
the tourism and construction sectors. The country's current account deficit
will decline slightly throughout 2008, primarily due to the effect of lower
fuel costs on imports and to an expected increase in tourism revenue that will
partially offset the large trade deficit.

    World Cup results batted as far as Canada
    While the playing action is focused thousands of kilometres away, the CWC
2007 will expect an impact as far north as Canada, according to Scotia
Economics. With Canada's multicultural composition, many Canadians will spend
thousands of dollars on food, drink and entertaining during the seven-week
event. According to the International Cricket Council, in 2006 there were more
than 6,735 senior cricket players in Canada and 1,920 juniors. In addition,
player numbers have increased steadily over the past four years.
    Statistics Canada census data also indicate that Canada has many large
immigrant populations from countries where cricket is a top sport. These
include: United Kingdom 606,000; India 120,000; Sri Lanka 87,000; Pakistan
80,000; Trinidad and Tobago 64,000.

    As leader in the banking sector in the Caribbean, Scotiabank is committed
to supporting the communities in which we live and work. Scotiabank is a
Regional Official Sponsor of the ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007.
Scotiabank is also the Official Bank of West Indies Cricket and the Exclusive
Sponsor of Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket.

    Scotia Economics provides clients with in-depth research into the factors
shaping the outlook for Canada and the global economy, including macroeconomic
developments, currency and capital market trends, commodity and industry
performance, as well as monetary, fiscal and public policy issues.

    The report can be found at
    http://www.scotiacapital.com/English/bns_econ/special0420.pdf




For further information:

For further information: Krista Pawley, (416) 866-3703,
krista_pawley@scotiacapital.com


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