GDP Increased Marginally Last Quarter, 1.2 Per Cent Growth Projected for October to December


The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has reported that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by an estimated 0.5 per cent during July to September, with projections for a 1.2 per cent growth for the October to December quarter. Director General of the PIOJ, Dr. Wesley Hughes, who made this disclosure at the agency’s quarterly press briefing held on (Nov. 19) at his Grenada Way office in Kingston, said that the July to September quarter was “very challenging” due to the impact of Hurricane Dean, rising international commodity prices, and unfavourable international economic conditions.
The main growth areas for the quarter were services and construction and installation, which rose by 1.7 per cent and 3.0 per cent, respectively.
Within the services sector, finance and insurance services grew by 4.0 per cent, production in the distributive trade increased by 3.0 per cent while hotels, restaurants and clubs grew by 1.6 per cent. Real estate and business services reported increases of 2.5 per cent.
In the meantime, there was marginal growth of 0.6 per cent in manufacturing. “Quarter over quarter, the manufacturing sector seems to be bottoming out in terms of the declining patterns and maybe about to be stabilized or show some more positive trends in the coming period,” Dr. Hughes said, noting that food and beverages and tobacco production went up by 3.0 per cent.
While the transport, storage and communications sector grew by 1.0 per cent, the goods production sector declined by 1.2 per cent. The agricultural sector also declined by 6.3 per cent, which Dr. Hughes attributed to the impact of Hurricane Dean.
The hurricane was also responsible for a 4.6 per cent decline in electricity and water, while a 9.5 per cent reduction in alumina production caused the 8.6 per cent decline in the mining and quarrying sector.
The Director-General said that during July to September of this year, the country’s unemployment rate increased by 9.7 per cent, while inflation was 3.6 per cent.
In addition, the fiscal deficit was $13.1 billion, which is $1.5 billion lower than budgeted. Dr. Hughes said that this is due to revenue being $2.1 billion higher than budgeted and expenditure $0.6 billion higher than budgeted.
In the meantime, Dr. Hughes said that the impact of the hurricane and heavy rains will continue to be felt for the October to December quarter, and while there will be some growth in tourism, agricultural and mining and quarrying will decline.
Provisional data indicates that visitor arrivals declined by 15.5 per cent to 163,380 in October, with stopover arrivals increasing by 8.5 per cent, while cruise ship passengers declined by 36.0 per cent.
“It has been a relatively challenging quarter and the coming quarter I think, will be just as challenging.
The impact of the continuing rains on the infrastructure and agriculture and mining is going to be of significance. There is also rising international commodity prices particularly crude oil, but also grain prices and other imports. The global economy is becoming a little bit more uncertain and the forecast is for growth to slow slightly,” he informed.

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