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Jamaican economy grows by 1.2 percent

Featured PIOJ Director General Colin Bullock (right) shares a light moment with Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips. PIOJ Director General Colin Bullock (right) shares a light moment with Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips.
The Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Dr. Colin Bullock says the Jamaican economy expanded for a third consecutive quarter, between April and June.

The PIOJ, Director General told a press conference that Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing led the sectors which grew during the April to June 2014 quarter, recording growth of 12.6 per cent over the corresponding period last year.

Other sectors recording growth include:Hotels and Restaurants, up 2.7 per cent; Transport, Storage, and Communication, 1.3 per cent; and Construction, 1 per cent.

Overall growth of 1.2 per cent was recorded for the quarter, with the Goods Producing Industry up 3.6 per cent, and Services, 0.5 per cent.

Director General, Colin Bullock, says the overall quarterly outturn largely reflects the result of improved weather conditions, and continued implementation of initiatives, aimed at improving productivity and output in agriculture, particularly from the Agro Parks.

Addressing the PIOJ’s quarterly media briefing, at the agency’s New Kingston offices on Wednesday (August 20), Mr. Bullock said the performance of the goods producing industry, specifically for agriculture and construction, largely reflected recovery from the impact of hurricane Sandy, as well as increased expenditure in construction.

He pointed out that traditional agricultural crop exports grew by 92.1 per cent; other agricultural crops, mainly domestic produce increased by 5.5 per cent; and animal farming activities, 0.9 per cent.

“Seven of the nine crop groups within the other agricultural crops component recorded increases, including: plantains, up 70.6 per cent; yams, up 15.4 per cent; and potatoes, up 14.3 per cent. Within the traditional export crops component, higher output was recorded for sugarcane, up 136.4 per cent; and bananas, up 130.4 per cent,” the Director General outlined.

Mr. Bullock said growth in construction primarily centred on infrastructural works, resulting from increased capital expenditure by the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC), up $6 billion to $6.2 billion. This, he explained, was due mainly to increased activities on phases one and three of the North-South leg of Highway 2000.

He pointed out that expenditure in telecommunications increased by $0.2 billion to $1.2 billion, “stemming from construction and installation activities related to the distribution and generation of power.”

The Director General attributed growth recorded in the hotels and restaurants sector to a 3.1 per cent increase in visitor stopover arrivals from the United States, Canada, and Europe. He advised that total stopover arrivals increased by 10 per cent, while cruise passenger arrivals grew by 24.7 per cent.

Mr. Bullock said growth in transport, storage, and communication was influenced by increased activities at sea ports.

“The performance in the transport and storage segment reflected  a 6.4 per cent increase in maritime cargo handles, due to an expansion of 10.3 per cent in cargo handled at out-ports,” he informed.

Other sectors recording relative growth include: the Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair and Installation of Machinery (WRTRIM), 0.3; and Finance and Insurance Services,  Real Estate, Renting, and Business Services, 0.2 per cent each.

Sectors declining included: Mining and Quarrying, down 0.6 per cent; Manufacturing, 0.3 per cent; Electricity and Water, 1.6 per cent; and Producers of Government Services, 0.2 per cent.

Mr. Bullock noted that overall growth of 1.6 per cent was recorded for the first six months of the year. This, he attributed to 4.6 per cent growth in the Goods Producing Industry, and 0.4 per cent in the Services Industry.

 He said growth for the July to September quarter is projected to range between 0.0 per cent and one per cent, “with the point estimate closer to the middle of the range.”

Mr. Bullock explained that the overall slowing in the pace of growth will largely reflect a projected decline for the agricultural, forestry, and fishing industry, due to the impact of drought conditions, and bush fires on domestic crop production.

“This contraction will be partially mitigated by continued growth in export crop production, as well as increased output from the seven agro parks. However, growth is expected for most other industries…including mining and quarrying; construction; hotels and restaurants; transport, storage, and communication; and real estate and business services,” the Director General said.

Preliminary data for July, Mr. Bullock said, showed that stopover arrivals increased by 7.7 per cent, to 221,490; and total bauxite production increased by 7.8 per cent, reflecting increased alumina, up 1.2 per cent, and crude bauxite, up 11 per cent.

Additionally, he said total bauxite exports for the month increased by 22.7 per cent due to higher exports of alumina, up 32.1 per cent, and crude bauxite, up 9.2 per cent.

“The primary risk identified is the impact of adverse weather conditions on domestic production (drought and hurricane conditions) as well as the relatively tight fiscal stance, as the country continues to implement reforms to stabilize the macro-environment,” Mr. Bullock explained.


Last modified onMonday, 01 September 2014 15:01