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Mauritius grew its tourism earnings by 5.7% to Rs 25.8 billion from January to July this year, compared to Rs 24.4 billion in the corresponding period of 2013, according to Bank of Mauritius data.

The central bank’s Monthly Statistical Bulletin for the month of August also showed that the number of tourists coming to Mauritius for the January to July 2014 period grew by 4.3% to reach 572,632.

However, the report noted that the GDP growth for this year could fall below 3.5%, which figure represents the latest growth projections made by Statistics Mauritius, and that itself was a downward revision of the 3.7% growth forecast at the start of the year.

The construction sector is again expected to shrink further in 2014 and pull down economic growth overall, although it is forecast to contract at a lower rate of 4.8%, compared with a contraction of 9.4% in 2013.

Besides, the manufacturing sector is also expected to contribute to lower-than-expected economic growth, with a slowdown in sectoral growth to 1.7% from 4.4% in 2013, as textile manufacturing grows 1.5% compared with 2.6% in 2013, 3.8% growth in sugar milling compared to a 1% contraction last year and 3% in food processing against contraction of 0.3% in 2013.

The central bank also noted that outstanding securities issued by the government of Mauritius stood at Rs 158.8 billion as at August 2014, an increase of 8.24% over August 2013, when outstanding securities amounted to Rs 146.7 billion.

In addition, the report as at end August 2014 also shows that government securities issued to the amount of Rs 49.1 billion would have matured over 2014-15, while the cumulative repayment will happen until 2029-30.

The government debt for 2014 consist primarily of Treasury Bills at the level of Rs 22.4 billion, of Treasury Notes to the tune of Rs 52.1 billion, 5-year government bonds of Rs 34.3 billion and Mauritius Development Loan Stock/ Government Bonds of Rs 50.1 billion.

All auctions of Government of Mauritius Treasury Bills were oversubscribed in August 2014 with the bid cover ratio ranging between 3.5 and 4.7, reflecting the significant excess liquidity affecting the banking system, the report noted.

Besides, the annual growth rate of the monetary base was 19.7% in July 2014 compared to 17% in the June 2014, due to increases in liabilities to Other Depository Corporations (reserve deposits) and currency in circulation.

The Bank of Mauritius also highlighted that monetary expansion, measured by the year-on-year growth rate of Broad Money Liabilities, continued to remain subdued while growth in banks’ credit climbed down in July 2014, showing slow economic activity.

Also, Mauritius’ gross official international reserves represented 6.2 months of imports as at end of August 2014, compared to 6.1 months as at end of July 2014.

Besides, the bank intervened on the domestic foreign exchange market and purchased an amount equivalent to USD 41.3 million while it sold USD 32.9 million to its customers.

Hence, the gross foreign exchange reserves of the Bank reached Rs 123.2 billion from Rs 121 billion as at the end July 2014.

Image (Travelling East): However, even as tourism is on the upturn, the report noted that the GDP growth for this year could fall below 3.5%, which figure represents the latest growth projections made by Statistics Mauritius.

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