The Central Bank has released its latest report on the Gross Economic Contribution of the Financial Sector in The Bahamas, as part of its Quarterly Economic Review.

The report summarises the results of the regulatory authority’s 2004 survey.

Of particular note:

• employment and expenditures in the banking sector increased, as did expenditure contribution from insurance companies and credit unions;

• the asset base of the international banking sector was stable, approaching $300 billion;

• the net income of local banks rebounded by 36.6%, with average return on assets firming to 2.71%. These institutions operated with a net domestic asset base of $6.4 billion;

• the business outlook for investment fund management activities improved; the number of active investment funds increased to 838, with corresponding value of assets under management rising to an estimated $163.4 billion;

• total assets of the domestic insurance sector trended above the $870 million estimated, with moderate increase in total expenditures and employment.

• the number of publicly traded companies on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX) increased to 19, with total market capitalisation rising by 17.2%.

The Central Bank concluded that the outlook for financial services remains positive, providing ongoing opportunities for income and employment growth.