Prospects for Okinawa economy remain good

The Bank of Japan, Naha Branch, has published its monthly financial and economic overview of February 2017.

The bank sums up its assessment of the current situation as, “On the whole, the market and business activity in Okinawa Prefecture continues a steady expansion for the foreseeable future.”

As for reasons, the bank cites “strong personal consumption due to the increase in the population of Okinawa, demand from the increasing tourism, and improving employment and income environment.”

The bank analysts say the economic expansion in the prefecture has continued for 43 consecutive months, and regarding the future, the bank expects, “The possibility that the expansion continues is high.”

Koichi Matsumoto, the Bank of Japan Naha Branch manager says, “The demand from tourism business and overall demand in Okinawa are robust, and incomes from all sectors are steadily increasing. Given the conditions, there is no change in sight that would cause a condition to slow consumption.”

The sales at department stores and super markets decreased by 2.7% from February last year, but that was because there was one business day less in February this year than in 2016 that was a leap year.

Sales in convenience stores increased 14.7% because they expanded the selection of food items. The unit sales of new and used cars increased 0.9%.

In tourism business, the number of tourists from overseas in February decreased 3.9% from the previous year because the Chinese New Year was in January, but tourists from mainland Japan increased by 4.5%, mostly centering on personal travel.

Room occupation rates in major hotels kept steady at 89.4% in Naha City, 86.1% in resort hotels, and 87.5% overall.

In the construction business, the value of guaranteed contracts in public works decreased 38.6% from the previous year, and the order volume of main construction companies decreased in both private and public sectors by a total of 47.6% . But new housing starts increased 12.5%.