By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Government has released preliminary estimates showing that the Bahamian economy’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 1.83 per cent based on constant prices, fuelled largely it said by increases in the construction, manufacturing, hotel and marine transport industries.
The data, drawn up by the Department of Statistics, also disclosed that the export of goods and services at constant prices grew by 5.7 per cent while imports grew by 13 per cent. Constant prices allow figures to be represented so that the effects of inflation are removed. The values for each time period are expressed in terms of the prices in some base period. Current price figures show data where the value for each item is expressed in terms of the prices in that period. According to the preliminary results, the GDP in Current Prices for 2012 had a positive growth of 3.5 per cent, while GDP in Constant Prices grew at 1.83 per cent.
“The growth at constant prices was due to increases in the construction industry, manufacturing, hotel industry and marine transport. In contrast, fisheries, electricity, mining, banking, insurance and real estate/gross rents declined. The exports of goods and services at constant prices in 2012 grew by 5.7 per cent and in Current Prices, 6.4 per cent, a direct result of an 11 per cent increase in the export of goods. Tourism expenditure which increased by 5 per cent together with an infusion of 18 per cent in local expenses of the off shore companies were the main contributors to the increase in the export of services,” said Government said.
“Imports of goods and services at constant prices in 2012 grew by 13 per cent. The imports of goods which represent 74 per cent of all Imports grew by 16.7 per cent, led mainly by significant increases in machinery and transport equipment and manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials. The imports of construction services which increased by 92 per cent was the major catalyst for the 10 per cent overall increase in the imports of services,” the Government added.
Gross domestic capital formation which measures the value of investment in buildings, machinery and infrastructure in the economy grew by 20.6per cent. The impetus in this sector was non-residential construction and machinery and transport equipment which increased by 97 per cent and 22.6 per cent, respectively. This build-up of these fixed assets was the direct result of major capital projects such as the Baha Mar and the Airport Expansion Projects, etc,” said the Government.
And the Government added that the private final consumption expenditure (PFCE) or household expenditure which represents 70 per cent of the GDP, increased in current prices by 2.9 per cent. “This increase was mostly in the wholesale and retail trade Industry which grew by 5 per cent, and household expenditure abroad which grew by 20 per cent. Contrary to the overall PFCE current growth, a slight decrease was measured at Constant Prices, where PFCE declined by 0.7 per cent as part of the constant growth was mainly due to the increased prices. This decline is due to the all items NP Consumer Price Index used to deflate the PFCE, which moved from 135.5 in 2011 to 138.4 in 2012,” the Government said.