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Central Bank of The Bahamas 2018 Annual Report

Published: Tuesday April 30th, 2019

The Central Bank of The Bahamas is pleased to announce the release of its 2018 Annual Report, which includes a summary of the Bank's operations over the year, an analysis of regulatory developments affecting the financial sector, a review of monetary policy, as well as payment systems developments. Further, the report provides an examination of the economic and financial environment, both internationally and in The Bahamas during 2018, and offers a comprehensive analysis of the Bank's Statement of Accounts for the year ending December 31, 2018.

The report showed that the domestic economy maintained its modest growth trajectory in 2018, buoyed by gains in tourism output and positive impulses from foreign investment-led construction activity. In this environment, employment conditions continued to gradually improve; although the jobless rate was slightly higher, as the expansion in the labour force outpaced the rise in the number of persons employed. Further, the fiscal deficit, which contracted considerably in FY2017/18, sustained this trend during the first half of FY2018/19, underpinned by VAT-related gains in revenue. In the financial sector, as the growth in domestic credit contrasted with the decline in the deposit base, both liquidity and external reserves decreased in 2018.

Given the robust levels of external reserves, modest economic expansion and weak consumer credit, the Central Bank's Monetary Policy Committee maintained its accommodative policy stance throughout 2018.

With regard to other major developments, the Bank sustained its active surveillance and regulatory agenda, particularly as it relates to Basel II and III implementation. Further, in 2018, the Bank adopted a more granular model to assess anti-money laundering (AML)/counter financing terrorism (CFT) risks. Other important initiatives included the transition of credit unions to a risk-based supervisory framework, similar to that of the banks. Further, in an attempt to deepen the Bank's efforts to modernize and improve access to domestic financial services, especially among Family Island residents, the initiative to develop and introduce a digital version of the Bahamian dollar, branded "Project Sand Dollar" was launched. In addition, the Bank continued to progress with the implementation of the credit bureau, as the Credit Reporting Act was passed in Parliament and the selection process for the credit bureau restarted. The associated regulations were also finalized for gazetting in January, 2019.

A comprehensive breakdown of the Statement of Accounts for the year 2018, showed an increase in total comprehensive income, as the growth in revenue outstripped the rise in expenses. For full text reading, please download the attached document.

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