JIS News

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  • Mining and quarrying recorded growth of five per cent
  • The building component of the construction sector grew by 1.5 per cent
  • The figure for mining and quarrying reflected increased production of alumina, “as crude bauxite production declined”

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that mining, quarrying and construction were the main sectors recording growth during the April to June quarter.

Director General of the PIOJ, Colin Bullock, who made the disclosure during the institute’s quarterly media briefing at its New Kingston offices on Tuesday, August 27, said mining and quarrying recorded growth of five per cent, while the building component of the construction sector grew by 1.5 per cent.

These sectors stood out during the period, which saw real growth gross domestic product (GDP) declining by 0.4 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2012.

Mr. Bullock said the figure for mining and quarrying reflected increased production of alumina, “as crude bauxite production declined”.

“Alumina production increased by 8.6 per cent, reflecting an increase of 1.1 percentage points in the alumina capacity utilisation rate, reflecting higher output from a major producer,” he explained.

Crude bauxite production, the Director General pointed out, declined by 4.4 per cent due to lower global demand, resulting in a 4.1 per cent decrease to 88.6 per cent in the bauxite capacity utilisation rate.

Mr. Bullock attributed growth recorded under the building component of the construction sector to increased residential developments by major housing developers, reflecting higher housing starts, which went up 219.6 per cent; and housing completions, up 37.4 per cent. Correspondingly, he said the volume of mortgages for the period increased by 17.7 per cent, with the value going up by 25.3 per cent.

Other sectors which recorded growth were the wholesale and retail trade; and repair and installation of machinery industry, up by 0.4 per cent, which he attributed to “higher levels of domestic demand.”

“Increased activities in the industry were supported by higher automated banking machine (ABM) and point of sale transactions with volume up 11.2 per cent and value, up 15.5 per cent respectively; and improved performance by the construction industry,” he informed.

Also recording growth was the hotels and restaurants sector, which Mr. Bullock pointed out, grew by 0.2 per cent. This, he informed, was mainly influenced by growth of 0.3 per cent in stopover arrivals, consequent on an increase in visitors from Canada, Europe, and Latin America.

He noted, however, that total visitor arrivals declined by 4.6 per cent, due to a fall-off in cruise passenger arrivals, down 13.7 per cent, while adding that “total visitor expenditure is estimated to have declined by 0.5 per cent to US$502 million.

The Director General said the 0.4 per cent decline in GDP for the April to June quarter largely reflects the impact of adverse weather-related conditions, specifically the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy on crops; the impact of drought conditions, which prevailed during the period; a continued weak global economic environment; and the impact of the National Debt Exchange (NDX) on the investment income of financial institutions.

Sectors recording declines included: agriculture, forestry and fishing, down eight percent; finance and insurance services – 2.5 per cent; and electricity and water supply – 0.1 per cent.

“For January to June 2013, real GDP is estimated to have declined by 0.8 per cent due to declines of 3.2 per cent in the goods producing and 0.2 per cent in the services industries. The industries, which recorded the largest declines during the period were agriculture, forestry and fishing, down 9.8 per cent; mining and quarrying, down 2.4 per cent; and electricity and water supply, down 1.6 per cent,” he outlined.

The Director General said the main source of growth was construction, up 1.1 per cent, while the transport, storage and communication; wholesale and retail trade; repair and installation of machinery (WRTRIM); and real estate, renting and business activities industries each recorded growth of 0.2 per cent.