ECONOMY: IEDOM presents 2023 figures for SXM

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Thierry Beltrand, director of the Institute of Issue of Overseas Departments Agency (IEDOM) Guadeloupe, unveiled this Monday, May 13 in the company of prefect Vincent Berton the economic results for 2023 and the first trends for 2024 for Saint -Martin. Positive outcome.

Tourism

Air traffic is almost back to pre-crisis levels. With around 500.000 passengers (395.000 Juliana, 103.000 Grand-Case) in 2023, the island's total air traffic has exceeded its pre-health crisis level and is approaching the 636.000 passengers in 2016. 2023 confirms the stability and resilience of Grand Case airport. Passenger traffic collapsed at Juliana airport after Irma (178.000) and during the health crisis (93.000) and has not yet returned to its pre-crisis level following (re-)construction delays . Over the first two months of 2024, the number of passengers arriving on the island of Saint-Martin is 12% higher year-on-year and 43% higher than in 2019. A slight drop in traffic is noted in Grand-Case ( -3%) while that of Juliana continues its recovery (+15%).

The cruise

Cruising is rebounding significantly (x5 over one year) but remains marginal on the French side with 6.118 passengers disembarking in 2023. In Sint Maarten, nearly 1.320.000 passengers in 2023 (+56% over one year) despite almost flat activity. shutdown during the health crisis. Cruising in 2023 was at 80% of its 2019 level and 63% of the 2014 peak (more than 2M passengers).

Inter-island maritime traffic

Maritime traffic with Anguilla recovered well in 2023 (76% of its pre-crisis level) and that between SXM and Saint-Barthélemy broke new records: +16% with 230.389 passengers, of which 25% embarked/disembarkated in Marigot. In January and February 2024, inter-island activity continues to increase, +19% compared to the first two months of 2023 for Anguilla and +35% for SBH.

Construction

The beneficial effects of post-Irma reconstruction are gradually fading. Cement consumption is apparently decreasing by 69% over one year, impacted by inflation and strong competition on sales partly in the Netherlands. The sector's salaried workforce stabilizes in the 4th quarter of 2023 (623) with activity driven by private construction and public procurement.

Employment in the hotel/restaurant industry

In the 4th quarter of 2023, the job market is improving (+12%), mainly in the hotel/restaurant sector (+62% over 3 months, 1658 employees, +7% over one year). Despite a total workforce of 7629 employees across all sectors in 2023, the unemployment rate is around 26%.

Banking activity

As of December 31, 2023, banking activity in Saint-Martin shows an increase of 15% in loans (€617,7M compared to €535,6M in 2022): +20% for businesses (€409,6M) and +12 % households (€190M). Investment loans to businesses are dynamic (+38%) and contribute to growth in outstandings, followed by real estate loans (+7%). Operating credits fell (-12%) after the 'boom' of EMPs in 2020/2021. Financial assets stabilize at €564,8 million (+0,3% over one year compared to €563,2 million in 2022) with an increase of 4% for households and a decrease of 2,4% for businesses (problems of Treasury).

The PGE (state-guaranteed loan)

At the end of June 2023, 97% of EMPs entered the repayment phase (4% fully reimbursed, 85% reimbursed over 6 years). The retail sector is the main beneficiary of PGE, in number (27%) and amount (38%), followed by hotels & restaurants (18%). The PGE system benefited 356 Saint-Martin entities for a total amount of €39M (8% of all PGEs granted in Guadeloupe and the Northern Islands).

Very encouraging results for Prefect Vincent Berton, particularly on credits with real investment dynamism. It remains to be seen how the Saint-Martin population can benefit from this prosperity. _VX

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