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Results of Survey of Economic Activity (Quarter 4, 2004)

Published: Monday May 30th, 2005

The Central Bank of The Bahamas announces the release of the results from its first Survey of Economic Activity.

The Bank launched the Survey in January 2005 to collect feedback on current conditions and expectations from among non-bank private sector business. Through this exercise, the Bank seeks to obtain better information on how macro-economic trends are affecting various segments of the economy, shedding current light on consumption and investment trends and on business intentions on future hiring and investments.

Opinion surveys of this nature are common among central banks. This particular exercise is modelled after the frameworks used in the US, UK and Japan. The next SEA will be conducted during June 2005 and will provide updated assessments for the first half of 2005.

The result indicate that large private businesses in The Bahamas viewed profitability and other operating conditions as comparatively improved at the end of 2004, and had more favourable expectations for 2005. Employment conditions are expected to be stable to firming on average, and businesses signalled that the level of investments was likely to increase. To the extent that the results are representative of a significant number of Bahamian owned enterprises, this amounts to an expected increase in economic stimulus from domestic investments, alongside the anticipated boost from foreign investments.

Significance of the results varied by island and by industry. Private enterprises in New Providence had more favourable assessments of their conditions than elsewhere in The Bahamas, while in Grand Bahama there was more forward looking optimism relative to the eventual recovery from the hurricanes. In the Family Islands, expectations, which also took account of feedback from local District Administrators were more upbeat in the sub-economies with significant tourism developments underway; however one high ranking concern among these economies was the undersupply of skilled labour and the expressed need for improved infrastructure. A significant number of Family Island communities were not expecting to participate in the general pickup in activity during 2005.

The following link can be used to access a PDF version of the complete report.