Cayman’s economy struggling

Economic indicators for the Cayman Islands in the first half of 2009 were almost all poor, according to a report released Friday by the country’s Economics and Statistics Office.

The semi-annual economic report found troubling news on the tourism, financial and housing fronts, as well as noting the financial crisis that enveloped the local government in the early part of this year.

New company registrations in the Cayman Islands dropped by 46 per cent when compared to the first six months of 2008. There were 3,679 new companies registered here from 1 January to 30 June.

The number of property transfers (sales) dropped 21 per cent while the value of building permits issued by the Planning Department fell 17 per cent.

Bank and trust company registrations for the first half of this year fell by four per cent, and mutual fund registrations dropped two per cent compared to a year ago.

On the tourism front, air passenger arrivals have fallen 13 per cent so far in 2009, while cruise ship passenger numbers were also down six per cent from the first half of 2008.

Some corresponding signs of the economic slow down were a drop in merchandise imports; 13 per cent. Also, the total number of work permits fell by 7.6 per cent, when comparing the number that existed in June 2008 to June 2009.

The economic report also noted a previously reported widening in central government’s operating deficit of nearly $81 million by 30 June, 2009. Central government’s total outstanding debt increased to $420.5 million by the end of June.

You can read more on this story in next week’s editions of the Caymanian Compass….