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JAMAICA | Jamaican economy dips into recession following growth streak

Featured Finance Minister Audley Shaw, (left) in discussion with Prime Minister Andrew Holness Finance Minister Audley Shaw, (left) in discussion with Prime Minister Andrew Holness
KINGSTON, October  8, 2017 . The Jamaican economy has once again gone into recession, with three consecutive quarters of negative growth.

According to new data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN, total value added at constant prices for the Jamaican economy decreased by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 when compared to the similar quarter of 2016.

This fall was due mainly to a 3.3 per cent decrease in the Goods Producing industries as the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing and Minin g and Quarrying industries declined.

Jamaica's economy contracted in the December 2014 quarter when GDP shrank by 0.2 per cent,  and by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter.

Despite a 1.3 % increase in the services sector, there was a 0.7 per cent decline in the goods producing industries.

Statin said the main contributors to the current decline were the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, which fell by 9.5 per cent, and mining and quarrying, down 10.9 per cent.

The Ministry of Agriculture said then that surveillance by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority indicated a swell in the population of the beet armyworm and that the pests have already destroyed more than 150 acres of scallion, onion, tomato, cucumber, callaloo, and beet.

Statin also reported a reduction in the production of root crops, which decreased by 8.5 per cent, as well as vegetables, which decreased by 20.2 per cent. The total area of vegetables reaped fell to 4,342.2 hectares from 5,099.2 hectares last year, a 15 per cent decline.

Traditional export crops also fell, mainly resulting from a 37 per cent decline in sugar cane production linked to weather-induced suspension of operations at two main sugar factories, Golden Grove and Monymusk. Cocoa production also fell by 76 per cent as the frosty pod disease continued to impact the crop.

Animal farming remained relatively unchanged for the review period, while banana rose from 15,087 tonnes to 16,471 tonnes and plantain production rose from 11,125 tonnes to 11,378 tonnes.

In the mining sector, alumina production fell to 426.5 thousand tonnes from 477.4 thousand tonnes, while crude bauxite declined to 862.8 thousand tonnes from 1,017.7 thousand tonnes. The sector was affected by heavy rainfall as well as malfunctioning equipment at one of the factories.

Jamaica‟s trade deficit for the January to July 2017 period worsened to US$2,376.7million. This is an increase of US$383.2 million or 19.2 per cent above the US$1,993.5 million for the similar period in 2016 according to the July 2017 International Merchandise Trade Bulletin produced by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).

Imported goods amounted to US$3,156.0 million, up17.2 per cent or US$462.0 million when compared to US$2,693.9 million which was recorded in the similar period last year. Additionally, revenues from total exports amounted to US$779.2 million in the current review period. This is an increase of US$78.8 million or 11.3 per centabove the US$700.4 million recorded in the 2016 period.

Imports from the United States of America (USA), Jamaica‟s main trading partner, rose by US$260.8 million or 24.6 per cent to the value of US $1,322.3 million duringthe current review period.

Earnings from total exports to the USA amounted to US$315.8 million, 11.5 per cent or US$32.6 million above the US$283.2 million recorded in January to July 2016. The trade deficit with the USA for January to July 2017 was US$1,006.5 million, which was 29.3 per cent or US$228.2 million more than the US$778.3 million observed for the similar period last year.

Imports were valued at US$3,156.0 million in the first seven months of 2017, an increase of US$462.0 million or 17.2 per cent when compared to US$2,693.9 million for the similar period in 2016.

Last modified onMonday, 09 October 2017 00:11
  • Countries: Jamaica

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