External reserves decline to just under $1 billion in November

External reserves decline to just under $1 billion in November
The Central Bank of The Bahamas.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The country’s external reserves declined in November to just under $3 billion, according to the Central Bank, which has also revealed that foreign currency outflows declined by nearly $60 million.

The regulator in its Monthly Economic and Financial Developments Report for November noted that external reserves declined by $116.2 million to $2.9 billion in November in pace with the $113 million fall-off in the previous year.

Underlying this outturn, the Central Bank’s net sales to commercial banks was approximately stable at $61.9 million. However, the Central Bank’s net foreign currency sales to the public sector expanded to $60.7 million from $50.8 million a year earlier,” the bank reported.

“Further, commercial banks net outflows to their customers increased to $59.7 million from $49.4 million in the prior year.”

Preliminary data on foreign currency sales for current account transactions also revealed that outflows fell by $57.9 million to $607 million in November, relative to the comparative period in 2021. 

“Leading this outcome, payments for non-oil imports and factor income were reduced by $55.7 million and by $11.6 million, respectively. Further, payments for “other” current items—mainly credit and debit card transactions—decreased by $3.1 million. Conversely, foreign currency sales for oil imports rose by $8.3 million, transfer payments, by $3.9 million, and travel-related transactions, by $0.2 million,” the Central Bank noted.

The report also revealed that total Bahamian dollar credit grew by $77.4 million in November, a turnaround from a $24.9 million reduction in 2021.

“Contributing to this development, the expansion in net claims on the Government strengthened to $86.3 million from $12.6 million in the previous year. Further, credit to public corporations increased by $0.3 million following a $0.7 million falloff a year earlier,” the report read.

“In addition, the decline in private sector credit slowed to $9.2 million from $36.8 million in the preceding year. Specifically, consumer credit recovered by $0.6 million, a reversal from a $23.4 million contraction a year earlier, while the retrenchment in mortgages moderated to $3.9 million, vis-à-vis $13.3 million in the previous year. However, commercial credit was reduced by $5.9 million, extending the $0.1 million decrease in the prior year,” the regulator noted.