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  • Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, said annual inflation is expected to remain within the seven to nine per cent target range for the 2014/15 fiscal year.
  • This, he noted, is despite rising to nine per cent at the end of the July to September quarter, a one per cent increase over the corresponding period last year.
  • Mr. Wynter said the increase for the September 2014 quarter resulted from the effects of the “more than anticipated” drought, which led to sharper increases in the prices of some domestic agriculture items.

Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, said annual inflation is expected to remain within the seven to nine per cent target range for the 2014/15 fiscal year.

This, he noted, is despite rising to nine per cent at the end of the July to September quarter, a one per cent increase over the corresponding period last year.

Speaking at the BoJ’s quarterly media briefing at the Bank’s offices in downtown Kingston on Tuesday, November 18, Mr. Wynter said the increase for the September 2014 quarter resulted from the effects of the “more than anticipated” drought, which led to sharper increases in the prices of some domestic agriculture items.

“But, even with this shock, the Bank’s current forecast indicates that inflation for Fiscal Year 2014/15 is likely to remain within the target range of seven to nine per cent. Inflationary pressures are expected to subside with recovery in the production of short-term crops,” he stated.

Mr. Wynter said this is already manifesting as data released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) for October, shows inflation slowing down to 8.2 per cent “as agricultural production picked up and prices declined.” This, he added, is expected to “hover around this level for the rest of the fiscal year.”

“Continued declines in international commodity prices, especially in the price of crude oil, as well as the restraint created by continued relatively weak domestic consumption demand, are expected to moderate inflationary impulses that may arise from the consideration, by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), of the tariff increase application from the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS),” the Governor stated.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wynter also reported a 2.4 per cent reduction in the balance of payments current account deficit to 8.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the 2013/14 fiscal year.

He said there are indications of a further decline to 6.3 per cent for 2014/15, pointing out that this forecast is supported by preliminary data showing a 5.3 per cent increase in tourist arrivals for the current fiscal year up to October 31.

This, he pointed out, is “stronger than the 3.2 per cent recorded for the corresponding period of the 2013/14 fiscal year.”

“We are also seeing strong recovery in net remittance flows, which grew by five per cent for the first four months of this fiscal year,” the Governor further said.