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JIS News

Several sectors of the economy recorded strong growth for the period July to September, with mining and quarrying emerging as the star performer for the period.
The sector recorded a 6.0 per cent growth, reflecting a 0.2 per cent contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This was largely due to an increase in alumina production (8.4 per cent), with the average capacity utilisation at alumina refineries increasing by 6.4 percentage points, data released by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), indicate.
Outlining details at this morning’s (Nov. 17), quarterly press briefing on the country’s economic performance, PIOJ Director General, Dr. Wesley Hughes, informed that this was the first quarterly increase in more than a year. “This improvement should be viewed against the background of declines registered in the corresponding period of last year, due to the passage of Hurricane Dean,” he said.
Meanwhile, electricity and the water industry recorded an increase of 5.9 per cent during the period, reflecting higher levels of electricity generation (up 6.4 per cent) and water production (up 3.1 per cent).
Dr. Hughes said the 1.5 per cent growth in the financial and insurance services sector, was due to the expansion in the volume of activities by deposit-taking institutions and security firms, resulting in increased interest and non-interest income. “The higher interest income was due partly to expansion in loan disbursement, and growth in investment portfolios of fund-managers,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the manufacturing industry grew by 0.4 per cent, with food, beverages and tobacco value added growing by 0.2 per cent.
There was growth of 0.5 per cent in the wholesale, retail trade, repair and installation of machinery (distributive trade), which represents the largest component of the economy. “There were increased sales in textile, clothing, shoes, automobiles, commercial and transport equipment. Performance in the sector was facilitated by increased loans, and advances, continued buoyancy in remittance flows and higher levels of imports during the previous quarter,” Dr. Hughes informed.
The agricultural sector declined by 2.0 per cent for the period, with four of the major categories registering reduced outputs. The sector reflected a 29 per cent fall in traditional export crops, such as banana, sugar cane and coffee, while other agricultural crops declined by 6 per cent.
This, Dr. Hughes, said reflected lower output in six of nine product groups, with the major factor being the decline in the use of fertiliser, which fell significantly in response to the rapid increase in the price of the commodity. Animal farming declined by 5.4 per cent, mainly in the poultry area, while fishing went down by 5.3 per cent. “The industry was adversely impacted by the storm, which had an overall impact of about $1.6 billion,” Dr. Hughes pointed out.
The hotel and restaurant sector declined by one per cent, with total stopover arrivals declining by 6 per cent and .4 per cent, respectively. Of the 1.8 per cent decline in construction, Dr. Hughes said this was due to the downturn in both residential and non-residential activities.
Despite these downturns, work continued apace on Highway 2000 and there was increased activities in relation to installation by telecommunications companies, as well as renovations and construction work in the tourism sector.