Sun | May 19, 2019

PIOJ predicts 2.5% growth for final quarter

Published:Thursday | February 21, 2019 | 12:13 AMNickoy Wilson/Staff Reporter
Dr Wayne Henry, director general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, responds to questions from journalists after delivering a review of the October to December 2018 quarter on Wednesday.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is projecting a 1.5 to 2.5 per cent growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) for the January to March quarter of the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The positive outlook has been spurred by the performance of the construction industry, which saw 3.5 per cent year-on-year growth, and the spin-off benefits from the major roadwork projects at three nodes of Kingston, the PIOJ revealed.

“January to March 2019, the short-term prospects of the Jamaican economy are positive. The continued strengthening of productive activities in both the goods-producing and services industries are led by continued recovery of the mining and quarrying industry as the Alpart alumina refinery continues to gradually increase its capacity utlilisation,” said PIOJ Director General Dr Wayne Henry.

He was speaking yesterday at the PIOJ quarterly press briefing for the October-December 2018 quarter at the agency’s Oxford Road headquarters in St Andrew.

“The goods-production industry grew by an estimated 4.2 per cent, reflecting growth in all industries, particularly, the mining, quarrying, and construction industries, which continue to record buoyant growth out-turns,” Henry told journalists.

Growth in agriculture

 

There was also an estimated 2.6 per cent growth in agriculture, forestry, and fishing relative to the corresponding quarter of 2017.

 

“This performance largely reflected the positive out-turn in the other agricultural crops component due to more favourable weather conditions during the review quarter,” the director general said. “During the correspondent quarter of 2017, the island experienced above-normal rainfall, which caused damage to crops and livestock that resulted in a contraction in output,” the PIOJ head said.

 

Yam, which was up 8.4 per cent; condiments, at 14.9 per cent; fruits, 22.7 per cent; and vegetables, 6.1 per cent, were among the crop groups that thrived during the last quarter.

 

However, there was a seven per cent downturn in the production of four traditional crops.

 

“Banana production declined by 2.4 per cent, coffee by 48.3 per cent, and cocoa by 10.4 per cent. There was no production of sugar cane in the quarter due to the late start of the crop season. This compared to the 33,707 tonnes produced in the corresponding quarter of 2017,” Henry said.

 

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com