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Tourism the bright spark in economy

Geralyn Edward

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A marginal increase in visitor arrivals and foreign capital inflows were among the bright sparks in an otherwise dreary third quarter economic report today from Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell.The island’s tourist arrivals increased by three per cent between January and September when compared to the previous year, despite what the governor described as a “tenuous recovery” in the economies of North America.This increase from Canada and United States compensated for a falloff in arrivals from the island’s most important market – Britain.Foreign reserves stood at $1.4 billion at the end of September – $42 million short of the level at December 2009, the governor notes.However, he says this level of reserves was sufficient to cover five months of imports if there were no other foreign exchange coming into to the country.Private capital inflows between January and August were “up modestly, though well short of pre-crisis levels,” the Governor sayst.Real estate inflows totalled $86 million, an improvement on the $53 million in the corresponding period last year. Important cash injections too included  $100 million to finance the construction of the new Banks Breweries factory as well as financing for the soon-to-be-completed Limegrove Lifestyle Centre in St James. “During the period there was also an inflow of $40 million from the sale of a US dollar series of a Barbados National Oil Company bond issue,” Worrell points out.More details in tomorrow’s DAILY NATION.