The Cayman Islands economy expanded 3.3% last year, after 3% growth in 2017. Record numbers of stayover and cruise tourists and a construction boom propelled the economy.
The annual economic report for 2018 by the Economics and Statistics Office shows that nominal GDP per capita income rose to $70,956 from $67,887 recorded for 2017.
A total of 2.4 million tourists visited the Cayman Islands in 2018, as stayover visitor numbers grew 10.7% and cruise passengers increased 11.1%. The strong performance of the sector benefitted from a rise in global income, improvements in local capacity and additional air passenger routes from major airlines, the ESO said.
The construction industry’s performance, measured by the market value of goods and services produced in the sector, continued to be a major contributor of growth in 2018 with its estimated value added increasing by 8.3%. Growth in the sector reflected the higher demand for infrastructure in terms of residential, commercial and public facilities. Key indicators such as the volume of building materials, including imported cement and aggregates, were all up during the year, continuing a growth trend that started in 2012.
“The financial services industry generally improved, as shown by most indicators,” the economic report noted. “Insurance licences, mutual funds (including master funds), stock exchange listings, stock market capitalization, the number of new company and new partnership registrations grew, while bank and trust licences and trust companies were the only indicators that declined.”
The average inflation rate for the years matched the economic expansion at 3.3%, up from 2.0% in 2017.
Total employment increased by 9.9% to 44,887 in 2018, while the unemployment rate dropped to 2.8% overall and 4.6% among Caymanians.