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Economy grew by 1.8% April to June quarter — PIOJ

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) says the economy grew by an estimated 1.8 per cent for the April to June 2018 quarter, relative to the corresponding period last year.

Director General, Dr Wayne Henry, said the out-turn, the largest since July to September 2016, reflected improved weather conditions which facilitated improved outputs in industries, such as agriculture; the positive impact of the resumption of operations at the JISCO Alpart alumina refinery, which strengthened the pace of growth; and higher levels of construction activities associated with road rehabilitation and commercial and residential developments.

Additionally, he said the out-turn marked the 14th consecutive quarter of positive growth. Henry was speaking at the PIOJ's quarterly media briefing at the Institute's head office in New Kingston today.

“Indications are that the pace of economic growth will continue to strengthen during the remainder of 2018 and 2019. The forecast for calendar 2018 is that growth will be in the range of 1.5 and 2.5 per cent, and for fiscal year 2018/19, growth is projected to be within the range of two to three per cent,” Dr. Henry said.

The Director General said the goods producing and services industries grew by an estimated 5.7 and 0.5 per cent, respectively.

He noted that the goods producing industry's out-turn was driven mainly by 30 per cent growth in mining and quarrying, resulting from a 36.3 per cent increase in alumina production to 581.3 tonnes, and expanded crude bauxite production of 9.3 per cent.

Additionally, the director general said agriculture, forestry and fishing, which grew by 10 per cent, was driven by a 12 per cent increase in traditional crops, such as sugar cane, up 44.2 per cent, and banana, up 0.6 per cent, as also animal farming, up 3.7 per cent and other agricultural crops, up 17 per cent.

Henry said construction, which grew by 1.2 per cent, reflected ongoing expansion of the residential developments, particularly new housing starts which totalled 1,132 in the preceding quarter.

He also said the non-residential component benefitted from new and ongoing construction, expansion and renovation works at several resort properties.

The director general further noted that the uptick in civil engineering works was underpinned by higher expenditure by: the National Works Agency, up 65.4 per cent to $4.9 billion, largely for road expansion and rehabilitation; Jamaica Public Service, up 573.1 per cent, to $10.4 billion; and National Water Commission, up 71.4 per cent, to $882.4 million.

He pointed out, however, that manufacturing contracted by 0.4 per cent. Meanwhile, Henry said all sectors under the services industry, except hotels and restaurants, recorded growth.

These include: transport, storage and communication, up 1.5 per cent; finance and insurance services, up one per cent; electricity and water, up 0.7 per cent; and wholesale and retail trade, repair and installation of machinery, and real estate, renting and business activities, up 0.5 per cent, while hotels and restaurants contracted by 1.5 per cent. Henry said growth for the first six months of the calendar year is projected to have increased by 1.6 per cent.

This, he pointed out, reflected a 4.2 and 0.7 per cent expansion in the goods producing industry, and services industries, respectively.

The director general said all industries are projected to have grown, with the largest increases being recorded in mining and quarrying — 27.9 per cent; agriculture, forestry and fishing — 5.3 per cent; and transport, storage and communication — 1.5 per cent.

Growth for the July to September quarter is projected within the range of 1.5 and 2.5 per cent, relative to the corresponding period in 2017.

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