Mauritius attracted Rs 1.9 billion of foreign direct investment in the first quarter of the year against Rs 2.68 billion in the corresponding period in 2013, according to figures released by the Bank of Mauritius on Friday.

A whopping 80%, or Rs 1.5 million, of this investment is allocated to real estate, always a preferred sector among foreign investors.

The second most popular was the accommodation and food services sector, attracting FDI worth Rs 119 million, followed by the ICT sector with Rs 109 million.

Finally, the construction sector followed closely on the heels of the ICT sector, attracting Rs 93 million worth of investments.

Conversely, only Rs 36 million was injected into the energy sector whilerepairs of motor vehicles and motorcycles saw only Rs 15 million in investments. Another let-down was the education sector which attracted only Rs 16 million in FDI.

Overall, the island attracted Rs 9.5 billion in FDI in 2013 against Rs 20.5 billion in 2012 and Rs 12.9 billion in 2011.

Coming to sources of investment, the largest bloc wasof developed economies with an investment of Rs 1.07 billion against Rs 827 million invested by emerging economies.

The European Union in particular contributed a sizeable Rs 856 million in FDI for the first three months of the year. Among EU nations, France invested as much as Rs 599 million, Rs 74 million came from the United Kingdom and Rs 57 million from Germany. Besides EU nations, Switzerland also made a high contribution at Rs 171 million.

Of emerging countries, Africa contributed the most at Rs 514 million, with South Africa investing the most atRs400 million. From Asia, China invested Rs 95 million while Rs 67 million came from India.

Further data released by the BoM on balance of payments showed that the current account deficit (CAD) trimmed toRs5.38 million in the first quarter of 2014 on the back of lowering merchandise trade deficit from Rs 15.64 million to Rs 12.65 million. This compares favourably to a higher CAD of Rs7.30 million in the year-ago period.

The first quarter saw merchandise exports expanding 5% while imports dipped by 5.5%.

However, the surplus in foreign trade in services narrowed to Rs 4.6 billion in the first quarter of 2014, from Rs 6.13 billion in the year-ago period, largely due to a 10.6% dip in net travel receipts.

The capital and financial account balance, posted lower net inflows of Rs 7.65 billion in the first quarter of 2014, from Rs 8.23 billion in the year-ago period.

The overall balance of payments for the first quarter 2014 posted a higher surplus of Rs 6.09 billion, against Rs 5.00 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2013.

Finally, the central bank survey of May 2014 showed a rise in the monetary base by Rs 512 million or 0.8% from Rs62.07billion at end-April 2014 to Rs 62.58 billion at end-May 2014, mainly on the back of an increase in reserve deposits.

This compared favorably with a decrease of 0.7% registered between end-March 2014 and end-April 2014.

The annual growth rate of monetary base was 18.6% in May 2014 compared with 27.2% in April 2014.

On the sources side, net foreign assets of the central bank grew by R s2.33 billion or 2.0%, from Rs 114.72 billion at end-April 2014 to Rs 117.06billion at end-May 2014.

Net claims on central government went up by a significant Rs 1.43 billion, from negative Rs 17.90 billion at end-April 2014 to negative Rs 16.47billion at end-May 2014, mainly as a result of a decrease in liabilities to central government.

The island economy had attracted Rs 2.68 billion in FDI in the first three months of 2013, representing a 29% dip over the year-ago period. (Image: All in Mauritius)

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