Monday 17 June, 2019

Jamaica poised to record strongest economic growth in 12 years



The performance for the January to March 2019 quarter, if materialized, would bring the GDP growth rate for 2018/19 to 1.9 per cent, the strongest fiscal year growth since 2006/07. 

The performance for the January to March 2019 quarter, if materialized, would bring the GDP growth rate for 2018/19 to 1.9 per cent, the strongest fiscal year growth since 2006/07. 

Jamaica’s economy has grown by an estimated 1.5 per cent in the January to March 2019 quarter compared with the corresponding quarter of 2018, according to latest data from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).

The performance for the January to March 2019 quarter, if materialized, would bring the GDP growth rate for 2018/19 to 1.9 per cent, the strongest fiscal year growth since 2006/07. 

Director General of the PIOJ, Wayne Henry, noted that the positive out-turn was spurred by increased demand from locals, international guests and the country’s main trading partners. Jamaica responded to the increased demand with an expansion in hotel room numbers, air seat capacity and flight frequency.

The country also produced higher capacity utilization in the mining and quarrying industry, issued more loans and advances to the private sector and engaged in major infrastructure works including road rehabilitation and expansion projects.

As a result, the economic growth of 1.5 per cent was mainly due to a 10 per cent increase in mining and quarrying operations, growth of 7 per cent in the hotels and restaurant industry and the construction industry which experienced growth of 3.5 per cent for the three months ending 2018 over the same period of 2017.

“The Jamaican economy is one characterized by periods of shocks followed by periods of recovery leading to anaemic average growth performance observed over the past decades.  This performance was largely associated with natural hazards and other supply-side shocks, which negatively impacted the island,” Henry said during the press briefing at the PIOJ’s Oxford Road head office earlier today.

"Following on the Growth-Inducement Strategy of 2012 and more recently the Economic Growth Council’s (EGC’s) 'Call to Action', the GOJ has taken steps to clearly identify and implement strategic actions to mitigate the impact of these supply-side constraints to growth.  

"These actions have begun to bear fruits, but the strong and concerted efforts must continue in order to sustain the gains achieved so far,” the director general continued.

Other contributors to the growth were the electricity and water sector, up 2.1 per cent; transport. storage and communications, up 1.5 per cent wholesale and retail sector, 1.3 per cent and other services, up 1 per cent. Growth across the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry was flat at 0.2 per cent.

The PIOJ anticipates that growth for April to June 2019 will fall within the range of 1 per cent to 2 per cent relative to April/June 2018.

The will be supported an anticipated increase in housing starts, non-residential building construction, as well as, increased civil engineering activities associated with road construction and rehabilitation.

Growth is also expected to emanate from the hotels and restaurants industry reflecting growth in foreign national arrivals and the mining and quarrying, reflecting growth in alumina production due to higher capacity utilization, particularly at the Alpart Refinery.  

 

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