July 5, 2021
The Central Bank of the Bahamas.
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) last night called for a further “reduction in the limit” on how much funding the Central Bank can provide to the Government as it signalled the present bar is too high.
Mortgage loan approvals have slumped to their lowest level in four-and-a-half years, it has been revealed, with almost one in four applications rejected because borrowers have a 50 percent debt service ratio.
Less than one out of every three mortgage loan applications was approved in the 2023 first half despite total credit applications to the commercial banking sector increasing by 9.4 percent year-over-year.
Central Bank executives yesterday forecast that 50 percent of Bahamians will have active Sand Dollar accounts by year-end 2024, with 160,000 already using this nation’s digital currency version.
The Central Bank has told its commercial bank and other licensees to stop sending clients seeking to recover dormant accounts directly to it as such applications must come from the institutions itself.
The Central Bank has abandoned its original target of eliminating paper cheque use by year-end 2024 because “a compelling fraction” of Bahamians need more time to adjust, its governor affirmed yesterday.
The Central Bank yesterday warned Bahamian consumers that inflation will remain “high” in the near-term, and decline more slowly than in other countries, with food and drink prices rising 11 percent over the year to end-June 2023.
The post-COVID economic revival dropped The Bahamas’ debt-to-GDP ratio to 85 percent at end-June despite the national debt increasing by $457.5m over the prior 12 months to $11.645bn.
The Central Bank yesterday said The Bahamas’ external reserves are set to remain “buoyant” in 2023 although June’s growth is $44.4m short of 2022’s expansion.
TOURISM is showing “record growth” according to a new report from the Central Bank of The Bahamas - while economic growth continues at a moderate pace.
The Central Bank’s governor yesterday foreshadowed reforms to protect Bahamian retail investors from potential “headwinds” in an overseas investments market that is this year on track to exceed 2022’s $250m outflow.
The Bahamian commercial banking sector’s stability hit a seven-year high in 2022, the industry’s regulator has revealed, as combined profits soared nearly 59 percent to just shy of $400m.
The Bahamas’ foreign currency reserves expanded by almost $169m in May due to a boost from the Government’s external borrowing activities as they closed the month at near-$2.9bn.
TOTAL air arrivals to The Bahamas in May hit 94.2 percent of pre-COVID’s 2019 high, the Central Bank revealed yesterday, with overall visitor numbers for the first five months of 2023 some 68 percent ahead of last year.
The national debt's growth rate slowed below 1 percent during the three months to end-March 2023 as the total sums owed by The Bahamas to its creditors rose to just under $11.5bn.
The Central Bank yesterday hailed the results of a 'mystery shopper' style survey of Bahamian financial institutions which found "rigorous evidence" they were in full compliance with efforts to combat financial crime.
Payment fraud increased in value almost eight-fold to $21.2m in 2022 with debit cards accounting for four out of every five reported cases, it was revealed yesterday.
The Central Bank would have massively exceeded its legal lending limits to the Government had the latter's accessing of $232.3m in IMF special drawing rights (SDRs) been included in the 2022 year-end calculation.
The Central Bank was advised it could breach its legal lending limits to the Government through the latter’s use of $232.3m in IMF special drawing rights (SDRs) without reforms to its governing Act.
The Government will not have “any extra headroom to borrow from the Central Bank” once legal reforms are passed to slash its lending limits by almost half, the latter’s governor revealed yesterday.
The Central Bank yesterday reaffirmed that The Bahamas’ economic growth rate will “moderate as the recovery from COVID-19 becomes more complete” with February’s air visitor arrivals just 2.5 percent off pre-pandemic pace.
The Government’s controversial borrowing of IMF special drawing rights (SDRs) reversed five years of decline by causing its net debt to the Central Bank to soar by 85.4 percent to $805.6m.
A Bahamian businessman says the Central Bank and its licensees are seeking to “solve a problem that does not exist” with their drive to eliminate the use of cheques by year-end 2024.
A CENTRAL Bank official said the institution has plans to get the country’s commercial banks on board with the use of the digital Sand Dollar this year to increase uptake with the general public.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas has called for stricter due diligence on the transfer of funds in the wake of the FTX collapse.
The Bahamas’ national debt enjoyed its first quarterly contraction for years during the three months to end-September 2022, the Central Bank revealed yesterday, although the decline was a modest $20.7m,
The Central Bank yesterday maintained its prediction that The Bahamas’ external reserves will end 2022 ahead of prior year levels even though October’s decline exceeded 2021 by some $58.3m.
The Central Bank’s governor yesterday disclosed it is lifting the near three-year bar on new entrants to the money transmission and digital payments business with the market now on “a stable footing” post-COVID.
The Central Bank’s governor yesterday warned The Bahamas “may never be ready” for the total elimination of exchange controls, adding: “I’d like to get to the Indy 500 but some of us aren’t even on Carmichael Road.”
Bahamian stopover arrivals rebounded to 90 percent of pre-COVID levels for July as the tourism recovery maintained its momentum by attracting some 3.677m visitors during the first seven months of 2022.
The Bahamas’ capital controls saved “around” $900m in external reserves at COVID’s peak, an economic researcher has estimated, while also helping to lower the Government’s annual interest burden by 2.5 percent of GDP.
Bahamian financial institutions were yesterday ordered not to bail-out financially stricken parents or affiliates as part of the “recovery plans” they have to submit to the Central Bank by mid-2023.
The Central Bank yesterday revealed that annual inflation for the year to June 2022 increased almost five-fold compared to the previous 12 months to give a stark indication of the cost of living crisis facing many Bahamian families.
The Bahamas received almost three million tourist arrivals during the 2022 first half, it was revealed yesterday, with June’s numbers just 16 percent down on the record-breaking pre-COVID pace set in 2019.
THE Central Bank of The Bahamas is relaxing the guidelines for domestic banks and credit unions around the qualification criteria for provision of credit to the private sector. This takes account of the domestic economy’s increased capacity to sustainably absorb more credit expansion, given the potential for credit growth to stimulate greater imports and increase the net use of foreign exchange.
THE Central Bank’s former chief enforcer says the US and UK are the biggest recipients of “dirty money” and suggests racial bias against countries like The Bahamas in anti-money laundering (AML) programmes.
THE Free National Movement yesterday expressed concern about the Bahamian economy and the management of the country’s fiscal affairs.
The Government’s domestic debt issues were fully subscribed for the first time in almost three years during the 2022 second quarter, the Central Bank has revealed, arguing that “tepid investor sentiment” has been reversed.
The Central Bank yesterday removed from its website a document seeking bids for a campaign “to mute” opposition to the elimination of cheques after the language used was questioned by Tribune Business.
Bahamian commercial banks are generating an ever-increasing share of their income from the fees detested by many consumers, which now account for more than $1 out of every $5 in earnings.
The Bahamas’ foreign currency reserves closed May 2022 above $3bn despite a $65m drop-off during the month, with the Central Bank reiterating its belief that they remain “more than adequate” to sustain the US dollar peg.
The Central Bank has unveiled plans for an Internet-based collateral registry that will ease Bahamian small business access to funding in a market where the security demanded is often more than three times’ the loan amount.
Tourist arrivals to The Bahamas increased almost ten-fold in March 2022 compared to the prior year aided by the continued easing of COVID-related border restrictions and a rebound in global travel, it was revealed yesterday.
Bank of The Bahamas top executive yesterday asserted it is moving beyond the bail-outs that “will forever haunt” the institution with predictions it will grow this year’s forecast $7m profit by a further 20 percent in 2023.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas said tourist arrivals grew by 17 percent in 2021, but are still a way off 2019 numbers.
The Central Bank is “holding off” in determining whether COVID-related loan delinquencies have peaked despite a $22.4m reduction in non-performing credit during the 2022 first quarter, its governor revealed yesterday.
The Central Bank yesterday raised its year-end forecast for The Bahamas’ external reserves holdings after they started May above $3bn following a $523m expansion during the first three months of 2022.
The Bahamas’ external reserves grew by almost $55m in February 2022 as commercial banks collectively received a net $84.2m foreign currency inflow from their customers.
The Bahamas’ national debt remained larger than the size of the country’s economy at year-end 2021, it was revealed yesterday, standing at a sum equivalent to 100.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The Central Bank’s governor yesterday said the nearly-$3bn in Russian-connected assets held by the Bahamas’ international financial services industry represents “less than 1 percent” of the sector’s total business.
THE Central Bank said international banks and trust companies had about $420m in deposits and $2.5bn in custody or trust assets for which the ultimate beneficial owners were from or connected to Russia.
The Central Bank yesterday forecast that “inflationary pressures will remain contained” while The Bahamas’ foreign currency reserves will close 2022 above “international benchmarks”.
The Central Bank aims to explore the Sand Dollar’s use outside The Bahamas within the next three years, it was revealed yesterday, with 20 percent of this nation’s adults having no bank account.
Concerns were raised last night over investor appetite for the Government’s debt after just 25 percent of a recent $47.326m bond issue was picked up by the market.
The Central Bank’s governor yesterday predicted that The Bahamas’ external reserves will end 2022 “not far off $2bn” and ensure the US dollar exchange rate peg faces “no undue pressure”.
The Central Bank’s governor yesterday warned that returning to pre-COVID economic output “is not enough” as he reaffirmed forecasts that GDP will expand by 8 percent in 2022.
THE Central Bank of The Bahamas said that the economy will “register marginal growth” for 2021.
THE Central Bank of The Bahamas is looking to eliminate cheques by the end of 2024.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas has called for recovery plans for all supervised financial institutions (SFIs) to help enable them to fully restore operations after a crisis situation.
The Bahamas’ national debt was just less than the size of the economy at end-September 2021 after increasing to almost $10.5bn over the previous three months, it was revealed yesterday.
THE two unions representing Central Bank employees have filed a second trade dispute over stalled negotiations with management related to an outstanding industrial agreement and other issues.
A NUMBER of Central Bank workers called in sick yesterday to protest unresolved grievances with management.
The Central Bank’s bid to strike out a Bahamian contractor’s $116,000 claim for breach of contract relating to roof repairs has been rejected by a Supreme Court judge.
The Government last night confirmed that The Bahamas’ national debt had breached the $10bn mark due to the borrowing blow-out inflicted by the combination of COVID-19 and Hurricane Dorian.
WEEKS after an interview with the press, a banker’s union boss has been told to apologise for remarks she made or face the consequences.