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Remarks by Governor Rolle on the Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) September 2019

Published: Monday November 4th, 2019

Today we are releasing the Central Bank's monthly economic report, which covers development through the end of the third quarter of 2019. It offers some preliminary observations on outcomes since Hurricane Dorian. This quarterly report also highlights the most recent lending conditions survey, covering observations for the first half of 2019.

Economic activity came to a halt in Abaco and Grand Bahama during September 2019, as a result of Hurricane Dorian. Neither island recorded any tourism activity, given the complete shutdown of the infrastructure. The rest of The Bahamas was not entirely spared, as these regions experienced either visitor declines or much reduced arrivals gains for both hotels and vacation rental properties.

However, the timing of the storm's during the slower part of the tourist season, allowed The Bahamas to preserve strong tourism performance over the first nine months of the year. This momentum is sufficiently strong, that the Central Bank expects The Bahamas will still record positive growth in 2019, underpinned by tourism, but much lower than had the storm not occurred. In addition, foreign investment stimulus is expected to be sustained, with inflows targeting expansion in resort and cruise infrastructure in New Providence, Grand Bahama, and several Family Islands.

The setback from the Hurricane is projected to be more noticeable in 2020, with resort facilities in Abaco absent during the peak winter season, and Grand Bahama's economy only expected to be partially recovered. An overall contraction in the economy or a flat outcome is possible.

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