Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Business, consumer confidence continues to soar

Published:Tuesday | October 10, 2017 | 11:04 AMArthur Hall
Don Anderson

Jamaicans remain upbeat about the country’s economic prospects, although the reality of the slower than anticipated rate of growth over the past 18 months has tempered some of the expectations.

That’s the finding of the latest Survey of Consumer and Business Confidence Indices released by The Jamaica Conference Board, the research advisory body of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.

The findings for the third quarter of this year showed the Consumer Confidence Index at 151.1, slightly above the 149.3 recorded for the second quarter of the year.

This was nearly identical to the third quarter of last year and, according to lead researcher Don Anderson, consumers gave credit to the government’s economic policies and, increasingly, to the actual expansion of business and job opportunities sparked by these policies.

Anderson noted that Jamaican firms expressed a greater degree of economic confidence in the third quarter than any other time prior to 2016.

He added that while optimism has slowly declined from the unbridled responses to the initial announcement of the Government’s new policies nearly two years ago, the pullback mostly reflected a more realistic assessment of the pace of the expected gains.

The survey found that 50 per cent of firms expect an improved economy, with 58 per cent saying the time is right to expand their capacity and 66 per cent expecting financial gains in the year ahead.