15 Feb 2008

Economic indices in CNMI paint gloomy picture of 2007

6:17 am on 15 February 2008

In the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas the Department of Commerce's fourth quarter Economic Indicator report confirmed the island's economy is still in bad shape.

The Saipan Tribune reports the data revealed a downcast picture of business activity across the sector in the CNMI last year.

Business gross revenue dropped 8-point-6 percent last year to US$1-point-67 million from $1-point-82 million recorded in 2006.

Imports and exports also experienced historic lows last year, with imports dropping 18-point-6 percent to $439.4 million in 2007, compared to $540.2 million the year before.

Garment factories closing shop last year saw exports continue its sharp decline, falling by an astronomical 36 percent to $307.5 million.

Building permits, a good indicator of activity in the construction industry, showed a 12-percent drop in 2007 to 255 permits issued out, compared to the 292 permits in 2006.

In banking, total deposits were up 1 percent to $2.08 million from $2.06 a year ago, while loans were down 8 percent to $674,290 from $734,800 in 2006.

Remittances decreased by 8.4 percent to $93.6 million compared to $102.2 million a year ago.

Auto sales-new and used-dropped 18 percent to 1,101 units sold, compared to 1,352 units sold the year before.

Visitor arrivals dropped 10-point-6 percent to 389,261 tourists from the 435,494 visitor arrival recorded in 2006.

In contrast hotel occupancy fell to 58.9 percent last year from 62 percent in 2006.