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Monthly Economic and Financial Developments, February 2006

Published: Tuesday April 4th, 2006

Preliminary evidence suggests that economic growth was sustained in February, underpinned by ongoing construction activity and firming consumer demand as evidenced by growth in commercial banks' mortgage and consumer loan portfolios.

The latest available tourism data revealed growth of 20.3% in visitors for December, and an overall increase of 0.9% to 5,050,706 visitors for 2005. Arrivals to the Family Islands and Nassau rose by 9.5% and 0.1%, respectively; however, visitors to Grand Bahama declined by 11.2%.

Domestic price inflation for the twelve months to February 2006 accelerated to 2.1% from 1.1% in the previous year, reflecting higher prices for all items except clothing & footwear items, and recreation & entertainment services which registered declines.

On the fiscal side, initial data for the first seven months of FY2005/06 indicated a reduction in government's deficit by 27.1% to $70.5 million compared to the corresponding period a year earlier. The generally improved economic environment combined with administrative enhancements supported total revenue growth of 18.8%, with accretions to both tax and non-tax revenue of $80.4 million and $20.4 million, respectively. Total expenditure firmed by 12.0% to $726.5 million, reflecting increases in both current and capital expenditure outlays.

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