Thu | Jul 16, 2020

Economy contracted by 1.7 per cent in March quarter - PIOJ

Published:Wednesday | May 27, 2020 | 2:48 PM
Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Dr Wayne Henry - Contributed photo

Jamaica’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by an estimated 1.7 per cent during January to March 2020, ending 20 consecutive quarters of no economic contraction.

Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Dr Wayne Henry noted that Jamaica’s economic performance largely reflected the impact of measures that were implemented to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The country recorded its first case on March 10 and thereafter, introduced several health and safety protocols aimed at curbing an increase in cases.

These measures included curfews, the closure of the country’s borders and schools, and restrictions on social gatherings.

Henry further explained that a downturn in the quarrying and mining industry as well as the continued decrease in activities in the construction sector were also responsible for the negative performance.  

The mining and quarrying industry contracted by an estimated 37 per cent due to a decline in alumina and crude bauxite production, while the construction industry witnessed a two per cent downturn.  

Declines were also recorded for the hotels and restaurants industry, transport, storage and communication sector, and other services.

But while these industries suffered, growth was recorded in other sectors.

“The contraction was partially tempered by an uptick in agriculture production as well as increased manufacturing activities,” Henry noted during a digital media briefing today.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector grew by an estimated 7.8 per cent.

“The performance of the industry was facilitated by more favourable weather conditions and increases in hectares reaped and output per hectare,” he said.

The manufacturing sector grew by 2.7 per cent due to growth in food, beverages, tobacco and other manufacturing products.

“With respect to the beverages, growth was recorded for rum and alcohol, up 59.2 per cent, beer and stout, up 3.2 per cent and carbonated beverages, up 2.3 per cent,” he said.

Other industries that grew include the finance and insurance services, electricity and water supply and producers of government services.

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