NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The country’s external reserves rose to $2.6 billion in March, though significantly lower than the previous year’s growth which included proceeds from government external borrowing.
According to the Central Bank in its monthly report on economic and financial developments in March, the country’s external reserves increased by $4.1 million to $2,671.5 million, significantly less than the growth of 513 million dollars from the previous year, which included the proceeds of the government’s external borrowings. The regulator also noted that its foreign exchange trades with the public sector grew to a net sale of $93.2 million from a debt financing-related net purchase of $419 million in 2022.
“With some compensation, the Bank’s net purchases from commercial banks almost stabilized at $95.3 million. Meanwhile, commercial banks’ net inflow to their customers slowed to $93 million from $108.1 million a year earlier,” the Central Bank said.
“For the first quarter of 2023, growth in external reserves moderated to $76.9 million from $514.8 million in 2022. Central Bank transactions with the public sector reversed to a sale of $55.4 million, compared to a net purchase of $310.4 million the previous year.In addition, the Bank’s net purchases from commercial banks decreased to at $128.9 million, compared to $212.5 million the previous year.At the same time, the net inflow of commercial banks from their customers moderated to $124.5 million compared to $266 million l last year,” noted the regulator.
Central Bank data also revealed that foreign exchange outflows increased by $3.1 million to $539.4 million, compared to the comparative period of 2022.
“Leading this result, payments for ‘other’ common items, primarily credit and debit card transactions, increased by $28.4 million. In addition, cash outflows for travel-related transactions increased by $3.2 million. In contrast, remittances from factor income fell by $11.6 million, while outflows for oil imports fell by $11.5 million. Additionally, outflows for non-oil imports decreased by $3.2 million and for transfer payments by $2.2 million,” the regulator wrote.
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