JIS News

Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, has disclosed that mining and quarrying was the best performing sector during the April to June quarter, recording growth of 4.3 per cent,
He said that the sector was the only area within the Goods Producing Industry that recorded growth over the period. The Industry – which also comprise agriculture, forestry and fishing, manufacturing and construction – decreased by an overall 1.6 per cent.
Making his inaugural presentation at the PIOJ’s macro-economic quarterly review at the agency’s Oxford Road office in New Kingston on Wednesday (August 25), Dr. Hutchinson said the growth recorded was the first such in seven quarters, dating back to the October-December 2008, and was attributed to the resumption in bauxite mining activities.
“Total bauxite production increased 35.1 per cent, reflecting the net impact of alumina production, which was down 10.4 per cent, and crude bauxite production which was up 103.1 per cent. The increase in crude bauxite production reflects an increased capacity utilization rate to 98.9 per cent, from a low of 43.8 per cent, in the corresponding period in 2009,” he stated.
The Director General attributed the decline in alumina production to the scaling down of operations at Alumina Partners (ALPART) in Nain, St. Elizabeth, and West Indies Alumina Company’s (WINDALCO) facilities at Ewarton, St. Catherine and Kirkvine, Manchester.
After recording some seven consecutive quarters of growth, Dr. Hutchinson said agriculture, forestry and fishing declined by 3.5 per cent, the biggest of the period. He also advised that manufacturing and construction activities fell 1.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. He attributed the declines to extenuating internal and external factors impacting the sector.
He said that the performance of agriculture largely reflected “the lagged impact “of the drought conditions which prevailed during the previous three quarters.
“The contraction reflected traditional export crops going down by 11.4 per cent, other agricultural crops being down 2.4 per cent and animal farming (was) down 5.6 per cent. Fishing remained flat, relative to the corresponding period in 2009,” he outlined.
The Director General pointed out that these factors, coupled with the police operations in sections of Kingston and St. Catherine in May which affected commercial activities, also accounted for a 0.9 per cent decline in output in the services industry.
This impacted activities “as far away as” the farm belts in St. Elizabeth, St. Thomas and Portland, as well international travel.
Other industries which Dr. Hutchinson said recorded declines were manufacturing, 1.6 per cent; construction, 1.5 per cent; electricity and water, 1.5 per cent; transport, storage and communications, 0.8 per cent; finance and insurance, two per cent; wholesale and retail – one per cent; and hotels and restaurants – 1.6 per cent.
He explained that the decrease in electricity and water reflected a 9.8 per cent decline in water production, and a 0.6 per cent fall in electricity generation.
“The Jamaica Public Service Company’s gross generation increased 0.7 per cent, while non-JPSCO generation declined 3.2 per cent. Water production fell 9.8 per cent, due to declines of 7.5 per cent and 11.3 per cent in the (NWC’s) western divisions and the eastern divisions, respectively,” he informed.
The PIOJ Head said the decreases in real valued added in transport, storage and communications, largely reflected the 4.9 per cent and 2.4 per cent decline in air passenger and air cargo movement, respectively. He was quick to point out, however, that the volume of maritime cargo increased 13.1 per cent, largely due to increase in crude bauxite exports. Additionally, he said communication is anticipated to have increased “due to an expansion in telecommunication segment.”
Regarding the two per cent contraction in finance and insurance, Dr. Hutchinson pointed out that this reflected a reduction in the loans and advances for commercial banks; a decline in net interest income, due in part to the impact of the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) programme; and foreign exchange losses resulting from the appreciation of the Jamaican dollar.
The performance of the wholesale and retail trade was negatively affected by the impact of the general deterioration in employment and overall conditions on purchasing power. Declines were also recorded in seven of the nine goods categories surveyed. These include: electronics; other manufactured goods; minerals, fuels, lubricants and petroleum products.
Dr. Hutchinson pointed out that the 1.6 per cent contraction in the real value added of hotels and restaurants, reflecting a 5.4 per cent decline in total arrivals, resulted from the 1.3 per cent decline in stopover arrivals and a 13.8 per cent decline in cruise ship visitor arrivals.
Regarding gross domestic product (GDP) growth between January and June this year, Dr. Hutchinson noted that, while the goods producing industry declined by 2.9 per cent and services by 0.7 per cent, sources of growth were transportation; storage and communication; agriculture forestry and fishing; and hotels and restaurants.”

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