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  • The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that the country recorded its strongest quarterly growth out-turn for the 2017 calendar year at an estimated 1.1 per cent, between October and December.
  • Dr. Henry said the out-turn for the December quarter resulted from estimated growth of 1.2 and one per cent in the goods producing and services industries, respectively.
  • Data show that stopover arrivals from the US increased by 14.3 per cent during the review period to 368,962 persons; arrivals from Canada were up 12.6 per cent to 111,482 persons; while stopover arrivals from Europe increased by 9.2 per cent to 86,576 persons.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that the country recorded its strongest quarterly growth out-turn for the 2017 calendar year at an estimated 1.1 per cent, between October and December.

This follows 0.8 per cent for the July to September quarter, Director General, Dr, Wayne Henry, has said.

He was speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly media briefing at the Institute’s New Kingston head office on Tuesday, February 13.

Dr. Henry said the out-turn for the December quarter resulted from estimated growth of 1.2 and one per cent in the goods producing and services industries, respectively.

He told journalists that the service industry’s out-turn was driven by an estimated 15 per cent expansion in mining and quarrying, and one per cent in construction.

The growth in mining and quarrying reflected higher crude bauxite and alumina production of 45.6 per cent and 11.6 per cent, respectively.

Dr. Henry noted that the increase in alumina production mainly reflected the resumption of operations at the JISCO Alpart refinery in Nain, St. Elizabeth.

Dr. Henry said the construction industry was supported by an increase in the value of National Housing Trust (NHT) mortgages provided as well as ongoing work on housing developments.

These outcomes, he pointed out, far outweighed the contractions recorded in agriculture, forestry and fishing; and manufacturing, which declined by one per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

The Director General noted that agriculture was constrained by above-normal rainfall during and prior to the review period.

“This adversely impacted agricultural output, both with respect to hindering the recovery efforts of crops requiring a longer maturation period, as well as short-term crops, for which replanting was impeded. Information from the climate branch of the Met Service indicated that cumulative rainfall during the period January to November 2017 was 121 per cent of the 30-year mean,” he informed.

Dr. Henry said, conversely, all sectors under the services industry grew, noting that hotels and restaurants led the way with an estimated 5.7 per cent.

The out-turns for the other sectors saw transport, storage and communication growing by an estimated 1.2 per cent; finance and insurance services – one per cent; wholesale and retail trade, repair and installation of machinery; electricity and water supply – 0.3 per cent; and real estate, renting and business services – 0.1 per cent.

Dr. Henry indicated that the out-turn for hotels and restaurants was influenced by an estimated 13.7 per cent increase in visitor arrivals from the United States, Canada and Europe.

Data show that stopover arrivals from the US increased by 14.3 per cent during the review period to 368,962 persons; arrivals from Canada were up 12.6 per cent to 111,482 persons; while stopover arrivals from Europe increased by 9.2 per cent to 86,576 persons.

The Director General further advised that cruise-passenger arrivals increased by 37.3 per cent, while total visitor expenditure was US$752.8 million, an increase of 17.7 per cent.

Preliminary data for January 2018 show a 6.8 per cent increase in stopover arrivals and 21.3 per cent for cruise passengers.

The 2017 calendar year growth out-turn is estimated at 0.5 per cent, representing the fifth consecutive year of economic growth recorded by Jamaica.

The services industry is estimated to have grown by 0.8 per cent, to outweigh the 0.7 per cent contraction in the goods producing industry.

“Industries recording the strongest growth during the year were hotels and restaurants, up 3.9 per cent; manufacturing, up 1.6 per cent; and construction, up one per cent,” Dr. Henry told journalists.

He noted that the economic out-turn for the January to March 2018 quarter is “positive” based on the anticipated continued strengthening of activities in both the goods producing and services industries.

“In light of (this), we expect real GDP (gross domestic product) for the January to March 2018 quarter to grow within the range of one to two per cent. The growth in real GDP for fiscal year 2017/18 is projected to fall within the range of 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent,” he pointed out.