San Juan

(Courtesy Discover Puerto Rico)

This week we review some economic indicators that show us that the economy is stable for the most part. While some indicators have been a bit lackluster so far, especially manufacturing, at least low energy costs and rising tourism numbers have given us something to be optimistic about.

Energy

There have been some positive energy indicators recently. We have seen overall consumption go up on a year to year basis while average costs have been going down. Consumption went up by 27 percent compared to last year. Energy prices across all classes have gone down from 23 cents per kilowatt hour in August to 20 cents per kilowatt hour in September. Energy prices have gone down from their high point in April when the average cost was 24 cents. Prices since Hurricane Maria have had a couple of high points but have tended to stay around the 20 cent per kilowatt hour level.

Manufacturing

The Purchasing Manager’s Index went up 9 percent in August compared with the month of July, but still stands at 46 points. This indicates that most manufacturers expect a future decline in their business. Amongst the individual components of the index, client’s inventory and backlog are particularly weak, with measurements of 32.5 and 30 respectively. Compared with last year’s strong manufacturing performance in the wake of Hurricane María, this could indicate that we are still feeling the effects of this hurricane on our economy.

Consumer Price Index

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has remained steady and stable this year. It went down by .4 percentage points in the month of September and up by .04 percentage points compared to Sept. 2018. This drop in the CPI this month was mostly due to drops in the cost of public transportation and clothing.

Hotels Registrations

Hotel Registrations are up compared with last year. After Aug. 2018, there had been 1.19 million total hotel registrations for the year. In 2019, we have had 1.58 million. While this is fewer registrations than the 1.9 and 1.8 that were had in 2017 and 2016, this is an indicator that the industry is recovering. The average daily rate paid for a hotel room has gone up by $7 or five percent compared with last year as well.

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