“Enduring healthy economic growth” in Cayman – that was what government said they were taking away from the latest figures released last week by the Economics and Statistics Office.
Cayman 27 combed over the data.
The island’s economic growth continued to surpass both her local rivals and the international big game players.
According to the ESO, Cayman’s GDP rose by 4% in the first quarter of 2018.
Compare that to the world’s biggest economies: USA and China, who noted only 0.55% and 1.4% respectively (according to figures from the OECD.)
The Statistical Institute of Jamaica said our neighbours also saw their GDP rise in the first quarter, but by a slightly more modest 1.4%.
Over in Bermuda, the government reported a 0.4% reduced real GDP over the same period, although things are predicted to improve due to a strong growth in tourism, which is incidentally the same factor predicted to keep Cayman’s growth strong.
The Finance and Economic Development Minister Hon. Roy McTaggart explained what those figures mean for us.
“In terms of the increased growth in GDP, it is coming from tourism. Financial services is also playing a significant role, this time around, and also the construction industry,” he said.
That included a record increase in tourist arrivals of 20.6%, alongside a 41.7% rise in new company registrations.
Mr. McTaggart cited these as two important factors in Cayman’s fast pace of growth.
But does that latter number feed into negative stereotypes about Cayman, perpetuated even by President Obama?
Not according to the Minister, who said he believes “we’re getting beyond that sort of rhetoric these days.”
“Cayman continues to play a very significant role in facilitating a tax neutral jurisdiction, from which international business can take place,” Mr. McTaggart explained.
But it is not all plain sailing. The bullet bond repayment looms just one year away.
“We will have to refinance a portion of it and while we have budgeted for a certain amount to refinance, the actual amount is fluid, until we see where we are at maturity date,” he admitted.
But as the government surplus to June this year was over $190 million, the highest recorded first-half surplus to date, he was confident his Ministry was making progress.
“It’s a debt I would like to see dealt with once and for all,” Mr. McTaggart stated firmly.
Public debt has also been reduced over 15 months, to June this year, by $50.5 million.
The third quarter results should be released in a fortnight’s time.