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Bahamas November economic data shows mild recovery

The Monthly Economic and Financial Developments report for November released by The Central Bank of The Bahamas at the end of December shows gains in construction and tourism, as well as a lower overall deficit. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Preliminary data for the Bahamian economy suggests a continuation of the mild recovery momentum during November, according to The Central Bank of The Bahamas.

The Monthly Economic and Financial Developments report for November released at the end of last month suggests that construction output, supported by both foreign investment and public sector infrastructure projects, and tourism activity, helped sustain the recovery towards the end of the year.

“Against this backdrop, and the persistence of high employment levels, the monetary sector outcome continued to be characterized by robust levels of bank liquidity, relatively mild private sector credit expansion and high loan arrears,” the report states.

“The external reserves position contracted, in-line with the seasonal—although muted—firming in consumer demand towards the end of the year, but was sustained at levels in excess of the year-earlier period.”

According to the report, indications are that the overall fiscal deficit for the first four months of FY2011/12 registered some improvement, linked to gains in tax receipts, while average consumer price inflation exhibited a moderate firming bias in November.

“Preliminary data from a sample of hotels in New Providence and Paradise Island point to a moderate improvement in tourism output in November, as Thanksgiving holiday traffic, the hosting of a significant sports event and various promotional activities led to broad-based gains in revenues.”

The 16.2 per cent gain in hotel receipts was explained by growth in hotel occupancy of 8.9 percentage points to 63.9 per cent, reinforced by a $3.69 hike in the daily average room rate to $201.23. Over the eleven-month period, total revenues reportedly firmed by 2.8 per cent, supported by a 1.1 percentage point advance in the occupancy rate to 64.5 per cent and a 1.8 per cent expansion in average daily rates.

Preliminary data on government’s budgetary operations for the first four months of FY2011/12 place the overall deficit lower by 4.2 per cent ($6.9 million) at $160.3 million from the corresponding period a year earlier. Total revenues firmed by 3.8 per cent ($13.4 million) to $366.5 million, underpinned by a 6.1 per cent ($19.1 million) expansion in tax collections, as higher excise tax receipts (20.1 per cent) led to an increase in taxes on international trade (3.0 per cent).

In terms of prices, the average monthly cost of gasoline rose by 1.8 per cent to $5.17, and diesel prices firmed by 1.6 per cent to $5.09. When compared to the previous year, the average costs for both products rose significantly, by 18.6 per cent and 34.0 per cent, respectively.

Speakers at the annual event to be held early January include Zhivargo Laing, Minister of State for Finance, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Minister of Tourism and Aviation, and Algernon Cargill, Director, National Insurance Board. See the full list here.

The 2012 conference season gets underway with several key events for financial services providers to be held in The Bahamas and across the region.

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