Jamaican economy records 1.8 per cent growth in 2018
Dr Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica.
The Jamaican economy recorded real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 1.8 per cent for the calendar year, representing the sixth consecutive year of real GDP growth.
The growth was facilitated by increased external demand for Jamaica’s export industries, mainly mining and quarrying, hotels and restaurants, according to Dr Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).
Growth during the calendar year was also buoyed by increased domestic demand, underpinned by record levels of employment as well as lower inflation and interest rates.
Industries recording the strongest growth during the year were mining and quarrying (up 32.5 per cent); agriculture, forestry and fishing (up 4.1%); construction (up 2.8 per cent); and hotels and restaurants (up 1.7 per cent).
For 2018, the goods-producing industry is estimated to have grown by 4.8 per cent, and the services industry was estimated to have grown by 0.8 per cent.
Growth in the December quarter
As for the October to December 2018 quarter, the economy was estimated to have seen real GDP growth of 1.7 per cent, compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017.
The key drivers of growth during the quarter were increased external demand from Jamaica’s main trading partners, which supported increased exports of some goods and services; increased hotel room capacity, and air seat capacity, which facilitated growth in stopover visitor arrivals.
There was also increased capacity utilization in the mining and quarrying industry; major infrastructure works, including the construction and renovation of hotels; residential and commercial buildings as well as an intensification of road construction and rehabilitation activities.
Favourable weather conditions and increased output per hectare for all domestic crop groups drove growth in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry.
The director general went on to note that the short-term prospects of the economy are positive. As such, the PIOJ projects real GDP for the January to March quarter to grow within the range of 1.5% to 2.5%.
Henry said the prospects for short term are hinged on the continued strengthening of the productive activities led by the continued recovery of the mining and quarrying industry.