Agriculture and the financial services sectors recorded growth during the last quarter of 2008/09 (January-March, 2009), Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wesley Hughes, has confirmed.
Dr. Hughes told today’s (May 18) quarterly media briefing of the PIOJ at its head office in Kingston, that agricultural output increased by 10 percent, while the financial services industry grew by 0.2 percent.
He also listed inflation as one of the positive signs coming out of the quarter.
“One of the bright spots for the quarter was the rate of inflation, which was about 1.3 percent,” he said.
Giving the short term prospects for the April to June first quarter of 2009/10, Dr. Hughes said that while the economy was expected to decline over the period, precipitated by the global economic downturn, there was the possibility of an earlier than anticipated easing of the recession.
Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wesley Hughes (second left), responding to questions raised at the quarterly media briefing in the Don Mills Training Room at the PIOJ’s Oxford Road office, Kingston on Monday (May 18). Also pictured from left are: Director in charge of the PIOJ’s Social Policy, Planning, and Research Division, Dr. Pauline Knight; and Managers in that Division, Angela Taylor-Spence, and James Stewart.
“We have seen some flicker of this, with some degree of confidence returning in the United States economy,” he said.
But Dr. Hughes cautiously noted that the impact of the crisis on the domestic economy was now more pronounced, and this is expected to continue into the next quarter.
“The situation will be challenging, particularly for the export industries, like bauxite and alumina. (However) there may be some good news in relation to temporary factors affecting tourism, which may see a stabilisation in the industry in the next couple of weeks (or) months,” Dr. Hughes stated.
He pointed out that, in tourism, while cruise ship passenger arrivals fell by 6.6 percent in April, airport arrivals for the month increased by 6%.
Dr. Hughes said that the outputs for fourth quarter 2008/09, came against the background of a 2.8 percent decline in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the economy, and a 13.4 percent depreciation in the value of the local exchange rate vis-