Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) October 2022
Published: Monday November 28th, 2022
Domestic Economic Developments
Preliminary indications are that, during the month of October, the domestic economy sustained its recovery trajectory from the negative effects of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Tourism sector output remained buoyant, bolstered by healthy growth in the high value-added air segment and recovered sea traffic, given the relaxed pandemic restrictions and pent-up demand for travel in the key source market. In the latest available data, domestic inflation rose during the twelve months through September, largely attributed to the pass-through effects of higher global oil prices. Monetary developments for the month of October featured a contraction in bank liquidity, as the expansion in domestic credit, contrasted with the decline in the deposit base. Further, in line with the seasonal increase in demand for foreign currency, external reserves decreased during the review month.
Tourism sector activity remained comparatively strengthened in the monthly trends, reflective of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and pent-up demand for travel in the key source market.
The latest official data provided by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) showed that total visitor arrivals by first port of entry rose to 465,341 in September, from 158,660 passengers during the same period in 2021. In particular, the dominant sea component grew to 397,303 compared to 115,312 visitors in the previous year. In addition, air traffic strengthened to 68,038 from 43,348 in the prior year—exceeding pre-pandemic levels; representing 125.8% of air arrivals recorded in 2019.
Disaggregated by major port of entry, total arrivals to New Providence more than doubled to 198,806 in September, from 79,880 in the comparative 2021 period. Contributing this outturn, air and sea traffic measured 57,037 and 141,769 visitors, respectively. Similarly, the Family Islands attracted 237,570 visitors, exceeding the 72,878 recorded in the previous year, attributed to gains in both the air and sea components, of 9,072 and 228,498, respectively.
Foreign arrivals to Grand Bahama totalled 28,965, compared to just 5,902 a year earlier, owing to increases in the air and sea components to 1,929 and 27,036, respectively.
For the nine-months to September, total arrivals recovered to 4,758,124 vis-à-vis 954,859 in the comparative 2021 period, when a 45.6% decline was registered. Air arrivals rose to 1,076,736 visitors, extending the 67.1% gain a year earlier, bolstered by growth in all major source markets. Likewise, sea arrivals increased to 3,681,388 passengers, a reversal from a 76.3% falloff in 2021.
The most recent data provided by the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited (NAD) revealed that for the month of October, total departures—net of domestic passengers—increased to 85,434 compared to 58,857 in the same month of 2021. In particular, U.S. departures expanded to 72,662 from 51,941 in the prior year. Further, non-U.S. departures advanced to 12,772, from 6,916 a year earlier. On a year-to-date basis, total outbound traffic grew to 1,067,727 from 581,345 passengers in the corresponding 2021 period, following a 48.8% growth in the previous year. Specifically, U.S. departures recovered to 923,179 visitors, extending the 67.2% expansion in the comparative 2021 period. Correspondingly, non-U.S. departures rose to 144,548, a turnaround from a 44.3% decrease in 2021.
In the short-term vacation rental market, data provided by AirDNA revealed ongoing gains during the month of October. Specifically, total room nights sold increased to 115,152 from 71,234 in the same period last year. Reflecting this outturn, the occupancy rates for both entire place and hotel comparable listings grew to 51.7% and 51.1%, respectively, compared to 44.7% and 42.4% in the prior year. Further, price indicators rose year-over-year, as the average daily room rate (ADR) for entire place moved higher by 10.2% to $509.82 and hotel comparable listings, by 11.8% to $188.59.
Average domestic consumer price inflation—as measured by the All Bahamas Retail Price Index—increased to 5.1% during the twelve months to September, from 2.0% in the same period of 2021, reflective of the pass-through effects of higher global oil prices. In particular, average costs rose for communication (10.5%), recreation & culture (7.4%) and education (2.1%), after posting reductions in the prior year. Further, the average inflation for transport accelerated to 15.0%, vis-à-vis 2.0% in the previous year. In addition, the rise in average costs quickened for restaurant & hotels (10.5%), food & non-alcoholic beverages (10.3%), health (4.9%), clothing and footwear (4.1%), housing, water, gas, electricity & other fuels (2.7%), furnishing, household equipment & maintenance (2.1%) and alcohol beverages, tobacco & narcotics (1.2%). Providing some offset, the average price for miscellaneous goods & services declined by 1.1%, following a gain of similar magnitude in 2021.
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