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  • The Government is projecting that the country’s macroeconomic outlook will remain positive, with an anticipated expansion in the economy over the medium term
  • This is according to an interim report of the 2016/17 Fiscal Policy Paper tabled in the House of Representatives by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, on September 27.
  • The agriculture and manufacturing industries are expected to continue their recovery, and labour market improvements are anticipated.

The Government is projecting that the country’s macroeconomic outlook will remain positive, with an anticipated expansion in the economy over the medium term.

This is according to an interim report of the 2016/17 Fiscal Policy Paper tabled in the House of Representatives by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, on September 27.

The Paper states that there is a projection for an average growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.6 per cent over the next four years.

According to a medium-term macroeconomic profile included in the document, this breaks down to an anticipated growth of 1.6 per cent for the 2016/17 fiscal year; 2.2 per cent for 2017/18; 3.3 per cent for 2018/19; and 3.2 per cent for 2019/20.

Inflation is expected to pick up, but stabilise within the five to 5.5 per cent range in the medium term.

The current account deficit is also expected to remain relatively low, averaging about 4.2 per cent of GDP between the 2016/17 and 2019/20 financial years.

The document indicates that the projections are informed by the progress observed in addressing the main economic weaknesses of the country as well as the strategic initiatives being implemented to spur growth.

The agriculture and manufacturing industries are expected to continue their recovery, and labour market improvements are anticipated.

The document, however, acknowledges Jamaica’s susceptibility to weaker external demand from slower-than-expected global growth and increased uncertainty due to the United Kingdom’s pending separation from the European Union.

Additionally, possible weather hazards can have adverse economic impact.

Meanwhile, the Paper shows that the economic prospects for the second quarter of the current financial year, ending September 2016, are positive. Real GDP is projected to be within 0.5 and 1.5 per cent.

This outlook is based on expectation of continued strengthening in the performance of most industries within the goods producing and services industries, supported by improved investment prospects and investor confidence.