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Economy cooled off in first quarter

Bermuda's economy cooled slightly in the first quarter of this year, despite a pick-up in household consumption and construction activity.

The Department of Statistics today released figures which showed that the island's gross domestic product contracted 0.6 per cent in real terms — that is, after inflation was taken into account.

The setback comes after five successive quarters of real GDP growth that lifted the island out of a six-year recession.

GDP, a measure of the island's economic activity, totalled $1.643 billion for the first three months of the year, up from $1.634 billion in the same period of 2015.

Household consumption rose by $29.2 million from the first quarter of 2015, or 2.4 per cent in real terms, as consumers spent more on food in stores and restaurants.

Construction industry activity grew by $21.6 million, boosted by higher spending on residential construction and the refurbishment of commercial space. Overall, investment in fixed assets increased by 4.2 per cent after being adjusted for inflation.

However, a growth in the amount the island paid for imported goods and services weighed on GDP.

The net trade surplus fell by $31.9 million, due mostly to higher payments for imports of goods and services. Imports of services increased $11.4 million reflecting higher payments for telecommunications services and reinsurance.

Imports of goods rose by $10.2 million as more iron and steel was brought in. Exports of services fell by $9.1 million as fewer fees and commissions were received by financial institutions from non-residents.

In real terms, the net surplus on trade in goods and services decreased 8.7 per cent.

Booster: construction work picked up in the first quater

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Published August 09, 2016 at 1:26 pm (Updated August 09, 2016 at 1:26 pm)

Economy cooled off in first quarter

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