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JIS News

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is projecting growth of 1.9 per cent for the July to September quarter. Director General of the PIOJ, Dr. Wesley Hughes, speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly press briefing in Kingston this morning (August 15), said the positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) performance should be spurred by a 2.4 per cent expansion in the goods producing sector and 1.6 per cent growth in services.
He noted that in the absence of any further major natural disasters, the expectation was that there would be continued fiscal consolidation. He said this was despite the decline in agricultural production due to Hurricanes Emily and Dennis. Preliminary estimates have put the damage caused by both hurricanes at $562.1 million.
According to Dr. Hughes, Jamaica stood to benefit from the expected expansion in the global economy particularly in China and the United States, in addition to increased bauxite earnings and continued higher than normal prices for commodities on the international market.
Meanwhile, for the April to June quarter, the PIOJ head said that real GDP remained relatively stable with an estimated 0.1 per cent decline compared with the corresponding period in 2004.
Dr. Hughes said that over the period, the goods producing sectors, mainly construction and installation, grew by 8.5 per cent with the mining and quarrying sector growing by 0.1 per cent due to a 1.4 per cent increase in alumina production. Within the services sectors, the main growth areas were electricity and water at 2.4 per cent, distributive trade at 1.7 per cent and finance and insurance at 1.1 per cent.
He noted that, but for the decline experienced in agriculture and manufacturing, all the other sectors performed reasonably well.
The agriculture sector suffered a 19.0 per cent decline over the period reflecting the residual effects of Hurricane Ivan as well as drought conditions, which affected domestic and export crop production. The hotel industry also showed a 2.4 per cent decline, but visitor expenditure was up 3.3 per cent during the period.
Dr. Hughes said it was expected that some degree of normalcy would be returned to the manufacturing sector with the recommissioning of the Petrojam Refinery, which was damaged by fire last October and higher levels of output in cement and food and beverage.
Furthermore, he said it was expected that the construction sector would continue the growth demonstrated over the last few quarters due to hurricane reconstruction efforts as well as the significant infrastructural work being undertaken on roads and bridges and in housing. For the period, construction grew by 8.5 per cent, the distributive trade by 1.7 per cent and electricity and water up by 2.4 per cent.
Inflation for the review quarter stood at 5.7 per cent, which was a decline in the 7.2 per cent rate last quarter.