Foreign exchange inflows up $1.1 billion in 2018
Gross foreign exchange inflows into commercial banks increased by $1.1 billion to $5.5 billion last year, while outflows increased almost at the same rate, both bolstered by an increase in tourism activity and the need to support investment projects, noted Governor of The Central Bank of The Bahamas John Rolle.
According to him, end-of-year data revealed that the economy improved overall for 2018 due to gains in tourism and “stimulus” from foreign investments, which he said spurred construction sector activity.
The increase in foreign exchange outflows were largely due to the increased need for tourism factors.
“A key indicator of the economy’s uptrend was the strongly elevated level of foreign currency inflows through the banking sector and equally robust domestic demand for foreign exchange, for payments for imported goods and services,” Rolle said.
“The elevated foreign exchange outflows spoke to supplies imported to support tourist operations, investment projects, and to higher spending by Bahamian households and businesses more generally.”
Rolle said Baha Mar was the catalyst for the strong growth of stopover visitors to New Providence, adding that growth in vacation rentals showed the strongest numbers in the capital.
“New Providence was the strongest magnet for stopover visitor growth,” he said.
“For the vacation rental component, New Providence leads the market with the largest share of inventory and better occupancy rates; however, the Family Islands and Grand Bahama averaged faster vacation rental growth in 2018. Cruise sector growth was also stronger in the destinations outside of the capital.”
Rolle explained that data on the expenditure on foreign direct investment (FDI) projects has not been “available at the same timeliness as tourism”, though he said based on the projects that are presently under development, domestic construction has been positively affected.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said recently that his government, since coming to office, has approved $3.7 billion in FDI projects.
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