Dominican Republic Central Bank Statement

Author: | Published: 5 Sep 2017
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The Dominican economy grew 6.6% in 2016, a rate above its potential level, making it the economy that experienced the highest growth in Latin America for the third consecutive year. The aggregate demand was driven by the 11.1% growth in investment, an expansion of 6.7% in exports and 4.5% in final consumption. The annual inflation rate was 1.7%, below the target of 4% ± 1%, and influenced by the positive supply shock, mainly due to the relative stability of oil prices at a level below the average of the last five years.

Given the positive supply shock that eased a substantial growth with low inflationary pressures, the central bank kept its policy rate unchanged at 5% until October 2016 when it was increased to 5.5%, preventing an increase in inflationary pressures in the short-term associated with expected increases in oil prices, the normalisation of US monetary policy, our main trading partner, as well as uncertainty in the markets due to changes in US policies.

In this context of improved terms of trade, the balance of payments results showed a reduction in the current account deficit for the fifth consecutive year, from 1.9% of GDP in 2015 to 1.4% of GDP at the end of 2016. This result is mainly due to the 9.3% decrease in the value of oil and oil products imports, the increase in exports of goods by 4.4%, the growth of tourism revenues by 9.9%, and the increase of 6.1% in family remittances. Investment flows in 2016 experienced an expansion of 9.2%, mainly for activities related to tourism, real estate, and mining. As of December 2016, gross international reserves reached $6,047.4 million, equivalent to 3.9 months of imports, while net international reserves amounted to $6,046.7 million, for an increase of $781.3 million and $851.6 million, respectively, during the period. It is important to note that this is the highest level historically achieved.

According to preliminary figures, in 2016 government operations showed a non-financial public sector (NFPS) deficit of 2.8% of GDP, as part of the fiscal consolidation process initiated since 2012.

In 2016, the Dominican financial sector experienced a sustained expansion rate of its gross assets and liabilities, with annual increases of 11.8% and 11.7%, respectively, verifying in turn appropriate levels in the profitability and quality indicators of the loan portfolio.

The macroeconomic outlook for the end of 2017 shows an expected GDP growth of around 5.5%, driven by private consumption and investment. The inflation rate is expected to be at the centre of the target range as the positive supply shock dissipates, with a low probability of significant inflationary pressures in the monetary policy horizon. In addition, the current account deficit of the balance of payments is expected to be around 2% of GDP, while achieving a significant increase in international reserves.




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