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Country Report Cayman Islands 2nd Quarter 2018

Country Report Cayman Islands 2nd Quarter 2018

  • June 2018
  • ID: 644748
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • In June the UK government recalled the UK-appointed governor of the Cayman Islands, Anwar Choudhury, pending an investigation into a number of complaints against him. Mr Choudhury has only been in the role since March. He was put into a difficult situation after the UK passed legislation in May demanding the creation of public registries listing the beneficial owners for companies registered in UK overseas territories by December 31st 2020.
  • The Caymanian government strongly protested against the UK law, saying that it was considering all options to challenge it. The territory views the law as an infringement on its autonomy, and said that it will cause economic damage as investments will move to jurisdictions with less stringent legislation-including UK crown dependencies such as Jersey and Guernsey. In June the Caymanian premier, Alden McLaughlin, flew to London to discuss the legislation with UK ministers.
  • Data from the Cayman Islands Economics and Statistics Office show that real GDP grew by 2.9% in 2017, the seventh consecutive year of positive economic growth. Growth was buoyed by a record 2.2m tourists visiting the islands last year. Although tourism has been slowly recovering in recent years, the record arrivals owe to the devastation of eastern Caribbean tourism destinations wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, which diverted many visitors to the Cayman Islands.
  • The record tourist arrivals break down to roughly 1.7m cruise passengers and 418,403 air passengers. The diversion of tourists from eastern Caribbean destinations appeared to carry over into 2018, with air passenger arrivals up by 24% year on year, to 39,185, and cruise passengers up by 20%, to 218,430. North America remains the largest source market, and is responsible for most growth. US arrivals grew by 13% in 2017, and Canadian arrivals by 6%.
  • Company formations hit a near-record high in the territory in February, with over 100,000 registered companies on the Cayman Islands General Registry that month. Growth in the overall number of registered companies contrasts with an overall decline in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which is the leading offshore jurisdiction for company formations. The Caymans' gain appears to be a result of a stronger reputation than other jurisdictions, and more US clients, rather than the Asia-heavy focus of business in the BVI.
  • According to Appleby, an offshore law firm, the Cayman Islands led all offshore jurisdictions for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in 2017, with 839 deals worth a combined US$78bn-representing 34% of total offshore M&A deal value globally.

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