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  • The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting that inflation fell to 2.3 per cent in January 2019.
  • The decline is the second consecutive out-turn falling below the four to six per cent target range, Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, has said.
  • It follows the 2.4 per cent recorded in December 2018 and is 1.5 per cent lower than the 4.8 per cent out-turn for January 2018.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting that inflation fell to 2.3 per cent in January 2019.

The decline is the second consecutive out-turn falling below the four to six per cent target range, Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, has said.

It follows the 2.4 per cent recorded in December 2018 and is 1.5 per cent lower than the 4.8 per cent out-turn for January 2018.

The Governor provided the details at the Central Bank’s quarterly media briefing at the BOJ Auditorium in downtown Kingston, on Thursday (February 21).

“Inflation continues to be influenced by the lagged impact of the fall in international oil prices last year and unseasonably high supplies of agricultural items, which, starting in December 2018, caused a sharp fall in agricultural food prices. The lower international oil prices led to lower cost for electricity, water, sewerage and petrol,” Mr. Wynter indicated.

The Governor said inflation is projected to increase close to five per cent in the April to June quarter.

This out-turn, he pointed out, is expected to be spurred by rising food prices as agricultural supplies fall back to “normal levels”.

“Higher inflation is also expected to come from increases in prices for processed foods, energy and transport services driven by the uptick in oil prices,” the Governor added.

Mr. Wynter, however, cited the potential risk of inflation falling below the four to six per cent target again over the first part of the 2019/20 fiscal year, “given the large seasonal increases and reductions that we have been seeing in agricultural supplies and prices”.

He said the medium-term forecast is for inflation to “rise slowly” to the midpoint of the target.

The Governor further indicated that this forecast path is lower than that discussed in late 2018, “when we anticipated a faster rise towards the midpoint of the target”.

“The revised outlook reflects a more moderate pace of expansion in domestic demand because of a somewhat lower projected growth rate in the global economy and also a smaller increase in crude-oil prices compared to what we had expected in November,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wynter advised that the BOJ will shortly provide Finance and Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, with an explanation for the deviation from the inflation target.

This, he said, is a requirement of the BOJ, adding that “it is expected that the exchange of correspondence will be made available to the public in due course”.