JIS News

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  • The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has indicated that there is a positive economic outlook for the current quarter of January to March 2016.
  • The short term prospects for the economy remain positive.
  • Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period is estimated to grow within the range of 0.5 to 1.5 per cent.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has indicated that there is a positive economic outlook for the current quarter of January to March 2016.

Director General, Colin Bullock, in his address at the PIOJ’s quarterly economic press briefing, on March 3, at the PIOJ headquarters on Oxford Road, in Kingston, said the short term prospects for the economy remain positive, based on the continued strengthening of the performance of most industries, as well as the continued implementation of strategic investment projects.

“Supporting (this) estimate of growth in the current quarter, we note the anticipated strengthening of both the consumer and investor confidence levels and continued stability in the macro-economic environment,” he said.

Mr. Bullock said real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period is estimated to grow within the range of 0.5 to 1.5 per cent. He noted that the PIOJ is also predicting GDP growth in this range for the 2015/16 fiscal year, ending March 31.

He said continued strengthening of productive activities in the goods producing and services industry and increasing employment are indications of an encouraging recovery for the Jamaican economy.

The Director General said return to growth is also expected in mining and quarrying and the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries. He noted that preliminary data for January for mining and quarrying indicate increased alumina production of 3.6 per cent and increased crude bauxite production of 19.4 per cent.

He added that figures also indicate that for hotels and restaurants, airport and cruise passenger arrivals for January grew by 2.9 per cent and 11.4 per cent, respectively. For the electricity and water industry, there is a reflection of increased electricity consumption, up 5.4 per cent to 253.6 million kilowatt hours. He said the PIOJ also notes continued price stability associated with increased food production and lower energy cost.

For January 2016, inflation of -0.4 per cent was recorded. Main drivers of this deflation during the month, Mr. Bullock said, were the impact of lower international crude prices on domestic transportation, down 0.4 per cent, and housing costs down 1.4 per cent.

“As we try to extract more output from traditional industries like tourism, mining and agriculture, there must be a continued effort to realise Jamaica’s potential to plug into global supply chains through the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Information and Communications Technology (ICT), animation and the international movement and processing of goods, through ports and special economic zones,” Mr. Bullock said.

“Growth will be strengthened and sustained if we focus not only on the concrete and steel mega projects and the business environments, but also on societal security – both at a social level and at a personal level – societal cohesiveness and societal transformation, as well as building environmental resilience for the long term,” he said.