Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) July 2022
Published: Monday August 29th, 2022
Domestic Economic Developments
Preliminary indications are that during July, the domestic economy recovered further from the impact of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Tourism output continued to strengthen, undergirded by notable gains in the high value-added air segment and the sustained rebound in sea traffic, due to vaccine efficacy and the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in the major source markets. In latest data, domestic inflation rose during the twelve months through June, reflective of higher global oil prices. Monetary developments for the month of July featured an expansion in bank liquidity, as the buildup in the deposit base, contrasted with the reduction in domestic credit. Further, external reserves increased during the review month, supported by net foreign currency inflows through the private sector.
Initial data suggested that monthly tourism sector activity maintained its growth momentum in July, as major source markets further relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.
Official data provided by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) showed that total visitor arrivals by first port of entry rose to 562,485 in June, from 135,092 visitors in the comparative period of 2021. Contributing to this development, the dominant sea segment expanded to 421,225 visitors from 21,903 in the prior year. Similarly, air traffic increased to 141,260 from 113,189 in the previous year—restoring 83.9% of the volumes registered in 2019.
A breakdown by major port of entry revealed that total arrivals to New Providence more than tripled to 265,252 visitors in June, from 83,314 in the corresponding period of 2021. Underlying this outturn, the air and sea segments both rose to 109,336 and 155,916 visitors, respectively. Likewise, traffic to the Family Islands strengthened to 261,812 from 44,543 a year earlier, as respective air and sea passengers measured 29,040 and 232,772. Further, foreign arrivals to Grand Bahama increased to 35,421 from 7,235 in the previous year, owing to gains in the air and sea components to 2,884 and 32,537, respectively.
On a year-to-date basis, total arrivals rebounded to 2,998,419 compared to 413,653 in the corresponding 2021 period, when a 75.7% contraction was registered. Underlying this outcome, air arrivals rose to 734,976 passengers, extending the 2.2% gain in the preceding year, supported by growth in all major source markets. Further, sea arrivals increased to 2,263,443 visitors, following a 95.9% falloff in 2021.
The most recent data provided by the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited (NAD) indicated that for the month of July, total departures—net of domestic passengers—advanced to 144,368 from 114,548 in the corresponding month of 2021. In particular, U.S. departures accelerated to 129,181 from 109,454 in the prior year, while non-U.S. departures grew to 15,187, vis-à-vis 5,094 in the previous year. On a year-to-date basis, total outbound traffic more than doubled to 775,852, from 373,787 passengers in the preceding year, a recovery from the 2.0% decline last year. Reflecting this outturn, U.S. departures rose by 87.4% to 671,192 visitors, surpassing the 12.1% increase in the comparative period in 2021. Similarly, non-U.S. departures accelerated to 104,660, a reversal from the 74.7% contraction in the corresponding period last year.
In the short-term vacation rental market, data provided by AirDNA for July revealed ongoing gains. In particular during the month, total room nights sold expanded to 170,904, from 129,708 in the corresponding 2021 period. Underlying this outturn, the occupancy rate for hotel comparable listings firmed to 55.0%, from 54.1% a year earlier. Conversely, the occupancy rate for entire place listings declined marginally to 61.8% from 62.8% in the previous year. Further, as depicted in Graph 1, price indicators showed that year-over-year, the average daily room rate (ADR) for both entire place listings and hotel comparable listings grew by 7.7% and 8.3%, to $538.01 and $195.88, respectively.
Reflective of the pass-through effects of the increase in global oil prices and supply chain shortages, domestic consumer price inflation—as measured by the All Bahamas Retail Price Index—rose to 4.4% during the twelve months to June, from 0.9% in the same period of 2021. Leading this outturn, average costs for transport rose by 14.2%; for communication, by 12.2%, for education, by 2.3%, and for recreation & culture, by 1.3%, after posting respective reductions in the prior year. Further, average inflation accelerated for food & non-alcoholic beverages (7.0%), restaurant and hotels (6.8%), clothing and footwear (5.4%), health (4.8%), and furnishing, household equipment & maintenance (2.1%). Similarly, the rise in average costs quickened for alcoholic beverages, tobacco & narcotics and housing, water, gas, electricity & other fuels, by 2.8% each. Providing some offset, the average cost for miscellaneous goods & services decreased by 1.8%, following a gain of 2.7% in 2021.
For full text reading, please download the attached document.