The Central Bank of The Bahamas - Latest News - https://www.centralbankbahamas.comLatest NewsThyme Online Feeder 1.0en-usMonthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) February 2020

Domestic Economic Developments


Preliminary indications are that the domestic economy exhibited moderated, but slightly positive performance during February, in line with tourism output constraints. Sustained growth in the sea segment contrasted with a reaction in the high value-added air component which contracted, as some capacity remained offline in hurricane-damaged areas. The effects of travel restrictions related to COVID-19 began to take an accelerated toll in March. Nevertheless, ongoing foreign investment projects provided a stimulus to the construction sector, and to a lesser extent post-hurricane rebuilding works. Monetary sector developments featured an expansion in bank liquidity, amid a build-up in total deposits and a reduction in domestic credit. Similarly, during the review month, external reserves registered growth, on account of foreign currency inflows from re-insurance and real sector activities.

Real Sector


Tourism metrics for the month of January revealed that the sector performed under potential, as the rise in sea arrivals overshadowed the fall off in the high value-added air segment. Preliminary data provided by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), revealed that total visitor arrivals for the month of January grew by 7.9%, albeit a sharp moderation from the 19.3% growth recorded in the same period last year. Specifically, the sea segment rose by 10.8%, following a 17.1% expansion a year earlier. Further, the high value-added air segment decreased by 3.5%, vis-a-vis a 28.8% increase last year. Disaggregated by major ports of entry, arrivals to the Family Islands surged by 63.8%, exceeding the 23.1% growth in the previous year, as the 76.0% rise in sea passengers, outstripped the 23.2% decrease in air traffic. Conversely, visitors to New Providence reduced by 14.2%, contrasting with the 30.0% increase in 2019, with the 20.3% falloff in the sea segment, overshadowing the 3.5% gain in the air component. In addition, underpinned by reductions in both the sea (17.9%) and air (51.4%) passengers, total arrivals in Grand Bahama contracted by 21.9%, although lower than the 33.4% decline during the same period in the previous year. The most recent data provided by the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited (NAD) showed that total departures--less domestic traffic--through the country's gateway airport grew by 7.5% year-over-year in February, but was significantly lower than the 26.4% expansion during the same period in 2019. Underlying this development, the dominant U.S. component rose by 7.5%, a marked slowdown from the previous year's 30.0% gain. Similarly, the increase in non-U.S. departures moderated to 7.6%, from 10.6% in the same month last year. During the first two months of 2020, aggregate departures moved higher by 6.8% but were notably less than the 24.1% growth in the prior year. By region, U.S. departures grew by 6.7%, a moderation from a 27.1% rise a year earlier. Likewise, the non-U.S. international component increased by 7.0%, a slowdown from a 10.9% gain in the previous year. Data provided by AirDNA on the vacation rental market revealed that for the month of February, total room nights sold edged up by 0.7%, bolstered by gains in bookings for entire place listings and hotel comparable of 0.6% and 1.2%, respectively. In contrast, the average daily room rate (ADR) for both entire place listings and hotel comparable decreased by 1.8% and 1.7% to $365.11 and $150.45, respectively. For full-text reading, please download the attached document.
Results of Treasury Tender - March 2020 of Treasury Tender - March 2020 of Loan Payments for Borrowers Displaced by COVID-19 Pandemic Central Bank of The Bahamas has arranged with domestic banks and credit unions to provide a 3-month deferral against repayments on credit facilities for businesses and households that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This accommodation will be revisited in June 2020, for appropriate changes that may still be warranted. Forbearance will be provided for borrowers who maintained their accounts in good standing before the onset of the pandemic. Further, it is on the condition that such payments will resume, with accrued interest, when the financial circumstances of such borrowers recover. Some financial institutions have already announced credit support that could extend beyond three months. Although, the administrative approach to implementing these and other accommodation will vary across lending institutions, the Central Bank will extend tolerant regulatory treatment to exclude these credit balances from being classified as arrears or restructured loans. Social assistance and relief payments deposited into bank accounts will remain available to satisfy the assistance needs of borrowers, and not to defray to debt service obligations. Borrowers should be advised, that since any credit on which repayment has been postponed will continue to accrue interest, they should only take advantage of payment deferrals when other options or adjustments do not exist. Borrowers who can afford to do so are encouraged to continue making loan payments, rather than see their loans increase through accrued interest. In all instances, borrowers are urged to inform their lending institutions of hardships they may be experiencing from loss or reduction in cash flows, income or employment. More details on the payment deferrals arrangements will be released in the coming days. The Central Bank will continue to monitor economic conditions and make adjustments to monetary and prudential policies that promote and preserve the stability of the financial system. of Loan Payments for Borrowers Displaced by COVID-19 Pandemic Central Bank of The Bahamas has arranged with domestic banks and credit unions to provide a 3-month deferral against repayments on credit facilities for businesses and households that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This accommodation will be revisited in June 2020, for appropriate changes that may still be warranted. For further reading please click the link. on Changes to Public Debt Market Operations Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Notice on Changes to Public Debt Market Operations

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The public is advised of the following changes to the Central Bank's domestic market operations:
  1. Discontinuance of acceptance of physical BRS applications and bank drafts
  2. Requirements for independent certification of new client identification
  3. Suspension of physical certificate collection
  4. Suspension of requirements for delivery of physical certificates for BRS maturities
The changes are further explained below:
  1. Discontinuance of acceptance of physical BRS applications and bank drafts

  2. In keeping with the Bank's COVID-19 pandemic response, please note that until further notice clients would not be permitted to enter the Bank, for any reason-this includes submission of Bahamas Registered Stock applications and payments. As such, clients wishing to participate in the upcoming IPO must:

    1. Complete an electronic application:

    2. Sign and submit the application to the domestic debt email address with the subject "BRS Application" + "Client Name".

    3. Make payments to Central Bank electronically. Depending on the facility of your commercial bank, payments can be made in one of three ways:

      1. Online banking,
      2. Mobile banking app, or
      3. Going directly into the branch and requesting a wire transfer.

    Settlement instructions for Central Bank are as follows:

    Beneficiary Bank: Central Bank of The Bahamas
    Account: CBOB General Account #1315010051
    Branch Code: 10000 (if applicable)
    Details: Applicant Name + NIB Number + "BRS Application"

    Receipt of all applications and payments will be confirmed via email.

  3. Requirements for client identification documents

    1. Existing investors, who already have investment accounts for BRS, can submit their applications by email and have their payments processed by wire transfers through their commercial banks.

    2. New investors can establish their BRS accounts by having their KYC due diligence submissions endorsed by their existing bank, and by submitting the application by email.

  4. Suspension of physical certificate collection

  5. Successful applicants will not need to visit the Bank for collection of their certificates. The Bank will print and maintain an inventory of BRS certificates for the duration of enhanced COVID-19 measures. Proof of ownership will be delivered to all successful applicants via email within 30 days of submission.

  6. Suspension of requirements for delivery of physical certificates for BRS maturities

  7. The Central Bank temporarily suspends the requirement for surrender of physical certificates to recover principal investments for maturing BRS securities. All maturing principals will be disbursed to BRS investors in accordance with preexisting instructions on the official register.

The Central Bank wishes to thank you for your cooperation and patience as we make changes to ensure the safety of both clients and staff. Should you have further queries or concerns, please feel free to contact us via email at
Cash Handling Safety Tips and Advisory Update

Central Bank of The Bahamas Health and Safety Directives for Cash Handling
and Point of Sales Payments.

COVID-19: Be Sanitary - Not Fearful

Due to workplace health and safety concerns surrounding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Currency Department of the Central Bank of The Bahamas consulted with its international partners to co-opt and develop guidance and recommendations for financial institutions, businesses and the general public around sanitary practices for cash handling and processing; and for electronic point of sales transactions.

In-House Practices at the Central Bank

In internal operations, the Central Bank has always followed sanitary cash handling parctices. These are being augmented, in light of COVID-19.

General Health and Safety Measures Pre-COVID-19 (Standard Operating Procedures)

  1. It was mandatory, and strictly enforced, that staff wore protective lab jackets while working in cash secured areas.
  2. The Bank has always provided protective eyewear, facemasks and gloves for staff. While use was optional, staff were encouraged to wear the full complement of safety gear.
  3. The Bank has always maintained a supply of disinfectants and chemicals to clean work surfaces.
  4. Staff were always advised to wash their hands following cash related activities. However, this was never supervised.
  5. Exceptional care was always taken when handling banknotes suspected to be damp, mold infested, excessively dirty, or bearing unknown chemicals or substances such as blood.

Enhanced Health and Safety Measures Since March 2020

  1. It is now mandatory that staff working in cash related areas must wear surgical facemasks, gloves and protective eyewear. These items are no longer elective.
  2. Staff must use a new, disposable lab jacket each day.
  3. Surfaces in cash related areas must be sanitised at the end of each operation, using disinfectant wipes. These include workstations, desks, door handles, computer keyboards, etc.
  4. Staff must wash their hands regularly to reduce the transfer of germs that may linger on banknotes or surfaces where cash was present; and following every instance in which banknotes were handled or surfaces touched. Erected signs reinforce the increased safety measures, including the frequent washing of hands.
  5. Contaminated banknotes, if discovered, must be handled with due care, avoiding direct contact with body parts.
  6. Staff are encouraged to avoid touching their face, ears and mouth during the course of the day, and especially after handling banknotes.
  7. Staff are encouraged to take vitamin supplements to boost their immune systems.
  8. Staff must report any signs of respiratory illness or fever. They are not permitted to stay at work or return to work while unwell.

Advice for the Public and Financial Instutions

Financial institutions, businesses and the genral public may wish to adopt sanitary practices from the recommendations below, as cash is handled or processed. Good sanitation should also be observed for electronic transactions, particularly on points of sales (POS) devices and automated banking machines (ABMs).

Cash (Banknotes and Coins) Health and Safety Tips for Financial Institutions and Businesses

  1. Persons processing cash (cash handlers) should wash their hands with soap and water regularly. That is, at intervals during and after handling of banknotes and coins. Using a hand sanitiser of at least 60 percent alcohol concentration is also effective.
  2. Cash handlers should avoid touching banknotes and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth areas.
  3. Cash handlers and the public should avoid "licking" their fingers to aid in the manual banknote counting/sorting process.
  4. Where possible, business/financial operations should minimize the number of shared users of cash handling equipment (such as note counting machines) and perform regular wipe downs of the equipment before, during, and after daily operations.
  5. Work surfaces that may be exposed to banknotes and coins should be disinfected regularly-at least daily and at greater frequency during the day for intensive operarions.
  6. Where possible, especially in non-customer facing areas, cash handlers should wear appropriate, protective gear including, gloves and surgical masks.
  7. Employees should avoid sneezing or coughing onto banknotes. Always follow public health guidance on the safe ways to cough or sneeze.
  8. Contaminated banknotes should always be handled with care, to avoid contact direct with exposed parts of the body.
  9. All public facing areas should be disinfected regularly, at the beginning, during, and the end of operations, without causing alarm to patrons/customers.
  10. Rules should be strictly enforced to keep sick employees at home and away from the workplace.
  11. Employees should minimise or avoid sharing common workplace items like pens, pencils, notepads, computers and telephones.
  12. Limit meetings, where possible. Communicate by e-mail, telephone or other virtual means.
  13. Disinfect phones deployed in public areas regularly; as well as other office and personal devices exposed to hand use.
  14. Avoid the overcrowding of stores and areas around counters and point of sales kiosks. Streamline the number of customers entering stores or branches at any one time.

Public Advisory

  1. Wash hands regularly (or use an alcohol based sanitiser), and clean/disinfect work surfaces during and after the handling of banknotes. Banknotes generally pass from hand to hand and may carry germs from person to person.
  2. Avoid touching banknotes and then touching the face, nose, mouth, or ears without having first washed or sanitised your hands.
  3. Avoid "licking" fingers to aid in the manual counting and/or sorting of banknotes.
  4. Avoid sneezing or coughing onto banknotes. Always follow public health guidance on the safe ways to cough or sneeze.
  5. Avoid bringing cash into contact with commonly used household surfaces such as kitchen and bath countertops, dining tables, etc. Keep wallets and handbags off these surfaces as well.

Handling of Electronic Payments

  1. Indivduals should consider using a stylus, pens, pencils or other devices to input pin codes on ABM machines and point of sales (POS) systems.
  2. Individuals should limit the use and handling of their credit and debit cards by cashiers and store personnel at payment stations. They should ask to swipe or insert and remove the card themselves. They should sanitise their hands after completing their card payments.
  3. Contactless payments should be used or facilitated whenever the option is available and enabled. Again, the public should ensure that they have minimal contact with POS systems, where possible.
  4. Businesses and financial instutions should disinfect equipment regularly that is used by the public, such as credit/debit card machines and ABMs. Hourly would not be considered too often.

A Final Note

Cash handlers will touch banknotes more frequently than the average person. The advice around frequent hand washing and avoiding touching of the face is particularly important for these indivduals. With safe, sanitary practices, the risk of contracting the COVID-19 from the normal banknote handling processes is low in comparison to the background threat posed by airborne particulates or general unsanitary behavior. Most transmissions of the virus are thought to be the result of person-to-person contact. Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Bahamian public health officials have emphaised the importance of social distancing to minimise this risk. They have also emphasied the benefits of regular hand washing; avoiding touching of the face (specifically the eyes, nose, and mouth, where the virus can enter the body); and practicing good respiratory hygiene, such as coughing or sneezing into a tissue that is immediately disposed of.

19th March, 2020


Central Bank of The Bahamas provides the following safety tips and cautions for cash handlers. They also apply for those performing cash and electronic payment transactions.

The public is being advised to exercise caution and not fear. The Bank will continue to provide helful updates from time to time in the best interest of the public.

Tips Cash Handlers Commercial Banks Public
Wash hands frequently (during and after handling of banknotes) X X X
Avoid touching the face, mouth, ears, nose and other body parts (particularly after handling banknotes and coins) X X X
Minimize shared use of cash handling machines (clean and disinfect between users) X X
Disinfect work surfaces and payments or cash processing machines regularly X X
Disinfect public areas regularly (door knobs and handles/desks, workstations/laptops/public entrances and exits) X X
Avoid use of shared work place materials like pens, pencils, notepads, telephones X X
Use contactless payments where available and enabled X X
Use a stylus, pen, pencil or similar equipment to pin codes on ABM and point of sales (POS) equipment X X
disinfect ABMs and POS systems regularly X X
Keep cash, credit cards and debt cards off kitchen and bath counters, and off dining tables X X X

Smiley face
Quarterly Economic Review, December 2019 Central Bank of The Bahamas is pleased to announce the release of its Quarterly Economic Review for the fourth quarter of 2019. The Review provides an examination of the performance of the domestic economy, as well as sectoral developments, principally during the period October to December. The domestic economy's modest pace of growth was sustained during the fourth quarter of 2019. Tourism output increased, supported largely by ongoing gains in the Family Islands unaffected by the passage of Hurricane Dorian. In addition, several varied-scale foreign investment projects, and to a lesser extent post-hurricane reconstruction work, provided stimulus to the construction sector. In price developments, domestic inflationary pressures remained contained, although the recent uptick in international oil prices contributed to a firming in the rate. Preliminary estimates showed that the Government's overall deficit widened during the second quarter of FY2019/20, relative to the same period a year earlier, attributed mainly to a rise in unplanned hurricane recovery related spending, which outstripped the value added tax-led increase in aggregate revenue. Budgetary financing was primarily sourced from the domestic market, and comprised a combination of long and short-term debt. In monetary developments, bolstered by the receipt of re-insurance proceeds, both bank liquidity and external reserves expanded, with the rise in the deposit base outstripping credit growth during the fourth quarter. Further, banks' credit quality indicators improved during the review quarter, underpinned by modest gains in economic conditions, alongside ongoing debt restructuring, hurricane relief measures and loan write-offs. However, the latest available data for the third quarter revealed a contraction in banks'overall profitability, mainly reflecting higher levels of provisioning for bad debt. On the external side, the estimated current account position reversed to a surplus during the final quarter of 2019, from a deficit in the comparative 2018 period. Underlying this outturn was a marked increase in net current transfers, primarily associated with significant hurricane-related reinsurance inflows. In contrast, the surplus on the capital and financial account reduced considerably, largely attributed to a reversal in domestic banks' transactions to a net outflow, vis-a-vis a net receipt in 2018. Given the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the near-term economic outlook for The Bahamas has become uncertain and contractionary. Tourism earnings are projected to decline sharply in 2020, becoming particularly acute over the second quarter; and moderately evident even before the end of the first quarter. This will lead to a large reduction in net foreign currency receipts and consequently a sizeable falloff in the Central Bank's external reserves. Foreign reserves are, nevertheless, sufficient to absorb essential domestic foreign currency needs. In particular, outflows associated with tourism sector inputs have abated with the lull in the industry; non-essential domestic overseas expenditures, such as travel, are projected to abate until public health confidence recovers; and the economy stands to benefit from a considerable softening in international oil prices. The Government's budgetary financing also includes anticipated foreign currency borrowing that should supplement foreign exchange needs. Meanwhile, the domestic banking system is mobilized, given healthy capital buffers, to forbear, with likely increased debt servicing difficulties among businesses and households, and to prudently supply new credit when a recovery path opens up. The greater uncertainty for the economy though, is that the duration of the slowdown in tourism and the speed of the anticipated recovery are still unclear, and dependent on progress on the international public health front. For full text reading, please download the attached document. Central Bank's Operations Remain Fully Accessible during the COVID - 19 Pandemic operations of the Central Bank of The Bahamas remain fully accessible to the public during the adjustment to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, health safety precautions are in effect.

The Bank is continuously engaged with supervised financial institutions, the Government and other stakeholders to support the smooth operations of the Bahamian financial system, including the following:
  • Access to Bahamian dollar currency
  • Operation of domestic payments and settlements systems
  • Processing of Exchange Control applications
  • Investments in Government debt securities
  • Regulatory reporting and approvals
The Bank also activated business continuity procedures to balance health and safety concerns for its personnel, against assurances that they remain fully engaged to service the public.

The Bank is now adhering to the following operating protocols. Some of these could vary as public health risks evolve.
  • Correspondences with the Bank will be accepted only in electronic format (email or telephone). The Bank will not accept hardcopies of letters or documents.

  • All services for Exchange Control authorisation, and regulatory reporting and communications are available through electronic channels that have been shared with relevant stakeholders.

  • Only staff and scheduled services providers will be permitted entry to the Bank's premises. The Bank will conduct all meetings with the public by virtual means (that is by teleconference or video conference).

  • The Bank's staff will be unavailable for public appearances, speeches or presentations, other than those that can be hosted virtually.

  • Official international travel for staff and senior officials has been suspended.
The public can continue to contact the Central Bank through the published email and telephone numbers and the direct contacts of officials whose contact information they possess.

With few exceptions, public applications for Exchange Control approvals can be directly processed through commercial banks. In the exceptions, applications can be submitted by email to, using either a copy of the online form or by outlining particulars of the request in the body of the email message. The website address is

The public can continue to apply to invest in primary and secondary market sales in Bahamas Government Registered Stock (BRS). All offerings are posted on the front page of the Bank's website with instructions on how to make subscriptions. Existing investors, who already have investment accounts for BRS can submit their applications by email and have their payments processed by wire transfers through their commercial banks. New investors can establish their BRS accounts by having their KYC due diligence submissions endorsed by their existing bank, and by submitting the application by email. BRS purchase request can be submitted to

Below are contacts for some key services:

Department Telephone Email
Exchange Control +1-242-302-2649
Bank Supervision +1-242-302-2615
Research Department +1-242-302-2650
Banking Department +1-242-302-2620
Currency Department +1-242-302-2734
External Relations -
Human Resources +1-242-302-2685
Deputy Governor's Office +1-242-302-2641
Governor's Office +1-242-302-2701

March $75M Prospectus


Prospectus Date: March 16, 2020

Issuer: Bahamas Government Open Date: March 24, 2020 (9:30 a.m.)
Registrar: Central Bank of The Bahamas Close Date: March 26, 2020 (3:00 p.m.)
Organizer: Central Bank of The Bahamas Settlement: March 30, 2020
First Int Pmt: September 30, 2020
Calendar: Actual/365
The Central Bank of The Bahamas will not accept applications after 3:00 p.m. each day.
Security ID Issue Size (B$) Unit Share (B$) Tenor (Years) Interest (Fixed) Maturity Interest Payment
BGR135021 75,000,000.00 100 1 2.57% March 30, 2021 Semi-annual

Payments: Subscription amounts should be made electronically or via bank draft, payable to the Central Bank of The Bahamas only. CASH PAYMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
Requirements: (1) Bahamian E-Passport; or (2) NIB Smart Card paired with one of the following: Bahamian Driver's License, National Identity Card, Permanent Residence Permit, other National Passport, or Spousal Permit. New Business customers must present a list of its authorized signatories along with Memorandum/Articles of Association.
Refunds: Refunds will be made within three business days following the settlement date. No interest will be paid on amounts refunded.
Certificates: Results will be made available on the Central Bank's website, and successful applicants can collect their certificates from the Central Bank 30 calendar days following settlement.
Allocation: Securities will be awarded in accordance with the Central Bank's priority level allocation process, with priority given to individual applications in amounts up to $250,000. All other applications-individuals greater than $250,000 and institutions-will be classified as Priority Level 2 and may result in a proration in the event of an oversubscription.
Application forms may be obtained from the Central Bank of The Bahamas' offices in Nassau and Freeport or from the Central Bank's website at Additional details are also available on the website.
Applications can be emailed to the Markets Unit at and funds can be wired to the Central Bank using the banking information below:

Account Name: BIS Suspense
Account Number: 1 3150 10051
Bahamas Registered Stock Secondary Market Prices March 2020 Registered Stock Secondary Market Prices March 2020