GDP growth on the rise

shutterstock_235639330Revised estimates of the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that real GDP growth is expected to reach 10.5% in 2015, up from 8.4% in 2014. This is spurred mainly by the strong growth of the tourism and construction sectors.

Meanwhile, tourist arrivals last December fell by 1% in comparison to December 2013, but showed a 16% increase from the previous month. The annual decline was prompted by a fall in arrivals from Europe and Asia. The occupancy rate in December was 74%, down from 76% in December 2013.

Fish purchases in November 2014 fell to 4,003.4 metric tonnes registering an annual decline of 50%. However, fish purchases rose by 14% compared to October that year. The volume of fish exports in November 2014 increased by 1% compared to November 2013, while earnings from fish exports declined by 11%. This decline was largely due to the fall in export earnings from frozen skipjack tuna.

Inflation rose from 1.1% in November 2014 to 1.2% in December. However, the monthly change in the inflation rate remained relatively unchanged during December 2014.

The bilateral exchange rates of the Rufiyaa appreciated in both monthly and annual terms against the Singapore Dollar, Indian Rupee, Sterling Pound and the Euro, while remaining unchanged against the Sri Lankan Rupee.

Gross international reserves rose by 12% in monthly terms and stood at US$614.7 million at the end of December 2014. In comparison with the previous year, the reserves rose by 67%, reflecting the increase in inward transfers of foreign currency by commercial banks during the period.

Total government revenue (excluding grants) increased by 17% in annual terms and amounted to MVR1.4 billion in December 2014. Total government expenditure (excluding net lending and amortisation) fell by 7% and amounted to MVR0.9 billion in the same month. The increase in total revenue was largely due to a 32% growth in tax revenue mainly contributed by the increase in TGST receipts.