Jamaican News

PIOJ Reports Growth of Economy

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that the country grew by an estimated 0.3 per cent for the April to June 2017 quarter.

It has also noted that the country has now recorded 10 consecutive quarters of positive economic growth.

Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, says growth in the June 2017 quarter reflects a 1.2 per cent increase in the services industry, which outweighed the goods producing industry’s 2.5 per cent contraction.

Additionally, he said the economy grew by 0.2 per cent over the first six months of the calendar year between January and June, relative to the corresponding period in 2016.

The Director General attributed this to growth of 0.8 per cent recorded in the services industry, which outweighed the goods producing industry’s 1.7 per cent decline over the period.

He was speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly media briefing at the Institute’s New Kingston head office on August 30.

Dr. Henry said the service industry’s out-turn for the June 2017 quarter reflected growth in all areas, except Producers of Government Services, which remained flat.

The top-performing sectors included hotels and restaurants, up eight per cent; and Finance and Insurance Services, up 1.5 per cent.

He said the hotel and restaurant sector’s out-turn resulted in an 8.7 per cent increase in stopover arrivals, led by foreign nationals, up 9.4 per cent, to 561,771 persons.

“This reflected increased stopover arrivals from Jamaica’s main source markets, the United States, up 7.7 per cent, to 411,748 persons; Europe, up 11.7 per cent, to 70,538 persons; and Canada, up 8.4 per cent, to 86,943 persons,” the Director General outlined.

Additionally, he said cruise passenger arrivals increased by 2.8 per cent to 345,957 persons, resulting in an increase in total arrivals of 6.5 per cent to 944,567, adding that visitor expenditure is estimated to have grown by 8.5 per cent to US$671 million.

Other sectors in the services industry recording positive out-turns included Transport, Storage and Communication; Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair and Installation of Machinery; Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities, up 0.5 per cent; and Electricity and Water Supply – 0.3 per cent.

Dr. Henry said the manufacturing and construction sectors emerged the top performers, despite the goods producing industry’s 2.5 per cent contraction.

The manufacturing sector grew by 2.4 per cent, while construction was up by 1.5 per cent.

The Director General pointed out that the growth in manufacturing was consequent on increased production of petroleum products, ranging between 1.4 and 15.7 per cent, as also chemicals and chemical products, up 11.8 per cent; and paint, 7.2 per cent.

Additionally, he said the growth in construction reflected increased activity in residential and non-residential projects.

With respect to residential construction, Dr. Henry indicated total housing starts increased from 385 units in the corresponding quarter of 2016 to 1.687 units this year.

“This reflected new housing developments by the National Housing Trust (NHT) with 684 starts, up 77.7 per cent, as well as by a private developer, through the NHT interim financing scheme (for) some 1,003 starts at the Winchester Estate in Hanover,” he outlined.

Dr. Henry further indicated that non-residential developments also included new projects as well as expansion and renovation works at several resort properties.

These, he informed, include the Wyndham Hotel – 455 rooms; Oyster Bay – 355 rooms; and Spanish Court II – 120 rooms, adding that construction of several commercial properties “is ongoing”.

Dr. Henry also pointed to higher expenditure on civil engineering activities by the National Works Agency, which he said increased by 201.9 per cent to $3 billion, largely reflecting expenditure for road clearing and rehabilitation following the heavy rainfall during the quarter.

Additionally, he cited the Port Authority of Jamaica expenditure on projects, which he said were up 201.1 per cent, to $365.2 million.

Dr. Henry said mining and quarrying recorded the largest decline, falling by 10 per cent, while agriculture contracted by 8.5 per cent.

These out-turns, he indicated, largely reflected the impact of adverse weather conditions as well as reduced demand from purchasers of alumina and crude bauxite, in the case of mining and quarrying.

The Director General said higher outputs were recorded for all industries over the six-month period between January and June, with the exception of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, and Mining and Quarrying, which declined by 6.1 and 10.2 per cent, respectively.

He pointed out that Hotel and Restaurants, and Manufacturing recorded the highest out-turns with 4.5 and 2.5 per cent, respectively.

Dr. Henry said the growth prospects for the July to September quarter are “generally positive”, based on anticipated strengthening in the performance of most industries, relative to the corresponding quarter in 2016.


“Despite the slowing in the rate of growth during the last two quarters due to weather-related shocks, it is anticipated that for the remainder of the fiscal year, there will be a strengthening in the pace of growth, resulting in a fiscal-year out-turn within the range of two to three per cent,” he said.

Photo: Melroy Sterling

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