Puerto Rico’s economic & financial situation
• Private sector employment continues to show a marked improvement, especially the service sector, which has posted gains of 1% to 3% over the past several months, compared to last year.
• “We are seeing big improving trends in the principal economic indicators, from retail and housing sales, to employment.” Juan Carlos Batlle, Government Development Bank President.
• Increased consumer confidence is evidenced by the rise in retail and auto sales.
• Retail sales have posted monthly gains all year, with March sales posting a 4.2% increase over last year, and auto sales mostly have followed suit, posting a particularly big 5.8% gain in April.
• “We wound up on June 30 with retail sales up 3.2% over last year, and we have had months that saw gains as high as 8%”.
• The housing-stimulus plan “speaks for itself,” with year-over-year growth of 90.9% in new-housing sales in Puerto Rico as of June 30, versus negative 12.6% for the U.S. mainland, and a 26% increase in existing-home sales in Puerto Rico as of June 30, versus a 13% decline in the U.S. mainland.
• Recent Planning Board Gross Product base projections point to a 0.7% increase in positive growthin FY 12.
CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS ON THE HORIZON:
• The tax reform, which represents the biggest tax cut in modern Puerto Rico history, is already helping the economy, which is why retail sales and other indicators are on the upswing.
• Of the about $7 billion in ARRA funds that have been allocated to Puerto Rico, some $1.555 billion is still slated to be injected into the economy in the coming months.
• The $756 million school-modernization plan, which is taking place across the island, also should stimulate the economy. Only about $45 million of the total has been disbursed by the GDB, so some$35 million a month will be pumping through the economy as the project advances.
• The $304 million second phase of Route 66 and other transportation-infrastructure projects throughout the island.
• Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority will begin construction of the Vía Verde natural-gas pipeline project as soon as it receives clearance from federal authorities, which is estimated to create some5,000 construction jobs over the next year.
• The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach is already under construction. Other projects include the J.W. Marriott Coco Beach Resort & Spa in Río Grande, Hyatt Place properties in Bayamón and Manatí, as well as 150-room properties in Fajardo and Barceloneta.
• The Public-Private Partnerships’ Authority program is bearing fruit, as world-class investors bid to manage vital public-infrastructure components:
– The Autopistas Metropolitanas de Puerto Rico consortium, won a 40-year concession to manage the PR-22 and PR-5 highways with a $1.08 billion upfront payment, plus a commitment to invest $56 million in vital infrastructure projects over the next three years and an additional $300 millionover the life of the concession.
– A dozen world-class airport operators have sought to be qualified to bid to manage Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, which is expected to receive a healthy upfront payment as well as a substantial investment commitment.
• Despite the economic uncertainty stateside and the significant challenges facing the island, Batlle is sticking to the government’s prediction that this will be the year the local recession-turned-depression, now in its fifth year, finally ends.
“We are sticking by our numbers. We should return to positive growth this year,” Batlle said.
¡INCUESTIONABLE LA RECUPERACIÓN Y EL REPUNTE ECONÓMICO DE PUERTO RICO!
CON FORTUÑO, ¡POR PUERTO RICO!