Frequently asked questions
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How is currency put into circulation?

Section 18(1) of the e-h-c Agreement 1983 gives the e-h-c the sole right to issue currency notes and coins in the territories of the participating governments.

Currency is put into circulation by issue to commercial banks, based on the demand for currency by the public. Demand is influenced by a number of factors, which include seasonal patterns of consumer spending, for example carnival and Christmas.

What is the value of currency in circulation?

As at 31 March 2015, currency in circulation amounted to $880.17m.

Can I be reimbursed for a counterfeit note?

Counterfeits have no value and the Central Bank is therefore not responsible for reimbursement of counterfeit notes. The e-h-c only has a legal responsibility for the currency it issues, which is the legal tender of the participating territories.

What should I do if I suspect a banknote in my possession to be counterfeit?

You should immediately present the note to a Commercial Bank clearly identifying it as a suspect note or the nearest police station or the (e-h-c) Agency Office in one of our member territories or the Currency Management Department at e-h-c’s headquarters in St. Kitts at () -2537. If possible, you should provide information about the person from whom the note was received.

Can I purchase currency directly from the (e-h-c)?

The e-h-c issues currency only to commercial banks and approved international financial institutions.

Where can I exchange a mutilated note?

A mutilated note is one that is in such a condition that the value is questionable and warrants special examination to determine its value. Such a note may be exchanged at e-h-c’s headquarters, e-h-c’s Agency Offices or commercial banks, at partial or full value, provided that it satisfies certain conditions.

What is the exchange rate of the EC dollar to the US dollar?

The EC dollar has been fixed to the US dollar at a rate of EC$2.70 to US$1.00 since 7 July 1976.  Prior to this the EC currency was fixed to the pound sterling at an exchange rate of EC$4.80 to £1.00. However, following the sterling’s depreciation (decline in value) in the 1970’s and the emergence of the United States as the region’s major trading partner, the decision was made to shift the peg to the US dollar. Any decision to alter the peg of the EC currency rests with the Monetary Council, the highest decision making body of the (e-h-c).

What is the difference between a Treasury Bill and a Government Bond?

Treasury bills commonly referred to as T-bills, are debt instruments issued by governments. They can basically be described as short-term loans to the issuer, issued for a term of one year or less.

Like treasury bills, bonds are debt instruments; however they are long-term instruments, issued for a period of five to thirty years, by both companies and governments. Bonds issued by governments are called treasury bonds, while those issued by companies are called corporate bonds.

Are the ECHMB, ECIB, ECSE, RGSM and ECUT part of the Central Bank?

No. They are the markets and initiatives created by the under its programmes of Money and Capital Markets Development.

What publications are produced by the Central Bank and where are they made available to the public?

The e-h-c produces annual and quarterly publications, namely:

  • The Annual Report
  • The Balance of Payments (annual)
  • The Annual Financial Statistics Yearbook
  • National Accounts (annual)
  • The Economic and Financial Review (quarterly)
  • Commercial Bank Statictics (quarterly)

They are available by subscription from our website, or by writing directly to:

Research Department
P O Box 89
Bird Rock
St Kitts
West Indies

The Annual Report and Commercial Bank Statistics are free of charge.

Does the e-h-c have offices in each member territory?

The e-h-c is headquartered in St Kitts and has Agency Offices in each member territory, staffed by a Resident Representative and an Administrative Professional. The Agency Offices are responsible for performing the following operations:

  • Foreign Exchange
  • Issue and redemption of currency
  • Monitoring developments in the member territories
  • Transmitting information to the Bank on developments in the territory
  • Monitoring the implementation of the policy directives from the Bank
  • Coordination of Public Education and Community Outreach Programmes
What is the difference between Monetary and Fiscal Policy?

Monetary policy refers to the actions undertaken by a central bank to influence the availability of money and credit to help promote national economic objectives of growth, employment and stable prices. Under the terms of the Agreement Act 1983, the Monetary Council has responsibility to provide directives and guidelines on matters of monetary and credit policy to the Bank (Article 7.2).

Fiscal Policy is the term used to characterise measures taken by a government to influence an economy. These decisions involve mainly government's use of expenditure and taxation policies to bring about desired macroeconomic objectives

Who designed the e-h-c logo and what is the significance of the colours used in the design?

The logo of the was designed by Mr Dennis Richards of St. Kitts/Nevis on June 27, 1984. In June 1992, Miss Marijka Grey of St Kitts/Nevis reproduced a coloured version of the logo with the colours blue, green and yellow.

The logo consists of a blue circle bordered with a narrow yellow strip both on the inner and outer rims of the circle. The words are inscribed in yellow lettering on the blue circle. This circle frames two green laurels interspersed with splashes of yellow encasing the letters e-h-c, also written in yellow and resting on a white background.

White - The purity of aspiration of the peoples of the sub-region and the sand which frames the lovely waters of the Region.

Blue - The azure colour epitomizes the comely and breath taking beaches/waters and clear skies of which this Region boasts.

Yellow - The goldish yellow embodies the warmth of the people and the radiant sunshine.

Green - The green symbolises the lush vegetation and verdant fields and forests of the islands.

The combination of colours clearly illustrates the two major economic activities for which the islands are known, to wit, Agriculture and Tourism.

Laurels - These evergreen shrubs are symbolic of the honour which the Central Bank seeks to bring to the sub-region as it grapples with the challenges encountered along the path to the achievements of balanced growth and developments.

What is the governance structure of the Central Bank?

The Monetary Council is the highest decision-making body in the institution to which the management of the Bank is ultimately responsible.

Article 7(2) establishes that the Council shall meet not less than twice each year to receive from the Governor the Bank’s report on monetary and credit conditions and to provide directives and guidelines on matters of monetary and credit policy.

The Council has agreed to meet three times for the year in January or February, July and October.

The Council’s specific decision-making functions are outlined as follows:

Article 17 (2) - declaration of the external value of the currency,
Article 24 (3) - the external reserve backing of the currency,
Article (33) - the maintenance of required reserves, and
Article (34) - interest rate and credit ceilings.

The Board of Directors is responsible for policy and general administration of the Bank. All major decisions must first be approved by the Board before they are presented to the Council.

The Board comprises the Governor, Deputy Governor and one Director appointed by each of the participating governments. The Governor functions as Chairman of the Board.

How long has the e-h-c existed?

The Agreement to establish the (e-h-c) was signed on July 5 1983 by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Anguilla acceded to the Act on 1 April 1987.

At the time of writing, the e-h-c is one of only four multi-state central banks in the world.

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