Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) June 2022
Published: Tuesday August 2nd, 2022
Domestic Economic Developments
During June, indications are that the domestic economy maintained its recovery momentum, amid ongoing adjustments to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and further mutations of the virus. Tourism sector output continued to improve, undergirded by notable gains in the high value-added air segment and the seasonal strengthening in sea traffic, in response to vaccination efforts and the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in some of the major source markets. Monetary developments for the month of June were marked by a contraction in bank liquidity, despite the constrained growth in the deposit base, contrasting with the reduction in domestic credit. However, external reserves increased during the month, bolstered by net public sector debt inflows.
Provisional data suggested that monthly tourism sector activity sustained its recovery trajectory in June, as continued COVID-19 conditions remained less constraining on global travel markets.
Official data provided by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) revealed that total visitor arrivals by first port of entry expanded to 502,583 in May, from 93,876 during the same period in 2021. Contributing to this outturn, air traffic advanced to 126,820, from 81,168 in the prior year—representing 79.9% of air arrivals recorded in 2019. In addition, sea traffic moved higher to 375,763, from just 12,708 visitors in the previous year, when cruise activity was paused.
Disaggregated by major port of entry, total arrivals to New Providence more than tripled to 224,797 in May, from 55,568 in the same period a year earlier. Leading this outcome, the air and sea segments measured 97,070 and 127,727 visitors, respectively. Similarly, foreign arrivals to Grand Bahama totalled 24,699 passengers, compared to just 4,290 in the prior year, with respective air and sea visitors of 2,857 and 21,842. Further, the Family Islands attracted 253,087 visitors in May, from 34,018 in the previous year, reflective of the strengthening in the air and sea segments to 26,893 and 226,194 arrivals, respectively.
On a year-to-date basis, total arrivals recovered to 2,435,934 visitors, vis-à-vis 278,561 in the comparative 2021 period, when an 83.6% contraction was measured. Supporting this outturn, the air segment rebounded to 593,716 passengers, from a 29.8% reduction in the prior year, capturing uptrends in all major markets. Likewise, sea arrivals regained 1,842,218 visitors, following a 97.5% decline in 2021.
The most recent data provided by the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited (NAD) revealed that total departures—net of domestic passengers—rebounded to 118,844 in June, from 84,559 in the corresponding month of 2021. Specifically, U.S. departures rose to 105,339 from 81,906 in the previous year, while non-U.S. departures amounted to 13,505, from just 2,653 in the preceding year. During the first half of the year, total outbound traffic more than doubled to 631,484 from 259,239 passengers a year earlier; a switch from the 30.4% contraction in the same period last year. Underpinning this outturn, U.S. departures advanced to 542,011 visitors, a turnaround from the 20.1% reduction in the prior year. Likewise, non-U.S. departures extended to 89,473, a reversal from the 82.7% decline in 2021.
In the short-term vacation rental market, data provided by AirDNA also reflected positive trends during June. Specifically, total room nights sold strengthened to 154,036 from 114,611 in the corresponding period of 2021. Underlying this outturn, the occupancy rate for hotel comparable listings advanced to 51.3% from 49.8% last year. However, the occupancy rate for entire place narrowed to 58.7% from 59.2% a year earlier. Further, price indicators showed that year-over-year, the average daily room rate (ADR) for entire place increased by 7.8% to $539.03; and for hotel comparable listings, by 7.9% to $192.26.
Domestic inflation—as measured by changes in the average Retail Price Index (RPI) for The Bahamas—continued to reflect the pass-through effects of higher global oil prices. During the twelve months to April, average consumer price inflation accelerated to 3.8%, from 0.4% in the corresponding period of 2021. Underlying this outturn, average cost increases were recorded for transport (13.7%), communication (12.4%) and education (2.3%), following reductions in the previous year. In addition, average inflation quickened for clothing and footwear (5.6%), food & non-alcoholic beverages (4.9%), restaurant and hotels (4.7%), health (4.3%), alcohol beverages, tobacco & narcotics (3.9%) and housing, water, gas, electricity & other fuels (2.8%). Further, the average price decrease for recreation & culture slowed (1.6%); while the average cost for furnishing, household equipment & maintenance remained relatively unchanged (2.4%). Providing some offset, the average price declined for miscellaneous goods & services (2.4%), following a gain in 2021.
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