Monday, Nov 18, 2019
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PM: Europe’s economic woes threaten Bahamas

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is acknowledging threats to economic recovery stemming from debt issues in the European economy–arguing it should by no means stop The Bahamas from readying for opportunities.

While conceding there were signs of economic growth in the country, Ingraham conceded that external factors may have a big hand in how soon those changes may come through.

“There are threats posed by the continued economic sluggishness in Europe,”he told rotarians yesterday.”National debt issues continue to threaten several European countries with the potential of destabilizing the eurozone and derailing the U.S. recovery.

“These are risks to be recognized but not to immobilize us from ensuring our readiness to take fullest advantage of the opportunities that become available to us.”

Ingraham, however, said while the government is aware of the risks, he doesn’t see those possibilities coming about.

The prime minister’s comments follow an earlierNassau Guardianreport outlining that a possible falloff in the European economy could mean a decline in U.S. exports, with Europe accounting for about 25 percent. Countries like Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain are presently grappling with large fiscal deficits and burdensome debt loads that have some analysts talking about a double dip recession.

And a decline in that region would in turn affect U.S. exports and disposable income–something The Bahamas depends heavily on.

Ingraham pointed out yesterday that a tourism rebound was critical to a revival of the Bahamian economy.

“Year on year performance shows significant increases in 2010 over 2009 in six of the nine months through September,”Ingraham said.”Each of the last five months represented significant improvements over the corresponding period in the previous year, in what appears to be a clear trend of tourism revival.”

That’s good news for The Bahamas, given the country saw a 10 percent decline in that industry at the end of 2009. Currently the national debt stands at$4.1 billion, with forecasts for an economic recovery continually being pushed back. Ingraham said yesterday there were several indicators that could be used to judge the economic recovery, including national insurance employment registrations, car sales as well as bank lending and construction.

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