Economy grows by 1.2% in June quarter
The Jamaican economy expanded by an estimated 1.2 per cent during the April to June 2014 period, the fourth consecutive quarter of growth, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Colin Bullock, reported on Wednesday.
The star performer was again the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, which increased by 12.5 per cent, attributed to the recovery from the impact of Hurricane Sandy which affected the island in 2012 and hindered production during the first few months of 2013.
Growth in the sector also reflected the continuation of the Government's drought mitigation measures and increased output from agro parks, Bullock told a media briefing in New Kingston, where he reviewed the economic performance for the quarter.
He said the PIOJ is projecting the economy to grow within the range of zero to one per cent during the quarter to September 2014.
During the review period, traditional export crops grew by 92.1 per cent, including sugar cane, which increased by 136 per cent, and bananas by 130 per cent, but was partially offset by lower output for coffee, down 42 per cent.
Other agricultural crops grew by 5.5 per cent, and included plantains, up 70.6 per cent; yams, up 15.4 per cent; and potatoes, up 14.3 per cent. Animal farming increased by 0.9 per cent.
Real value added for mining and quarrying declined by 0.6 per cent, reflecting lower production in the alumina component, which outweighed increased crude bauxite production.
Alumina production fell by 4.2 per cent as a result of reduced output at the Jamalco plant in Clarendon, and Windalco's Ewarton, St Catherine plant, the latter largely attributed to a one-week closure for maintenance purposes.
Bullock said a 13.3 per cent increase in crude bauxite production was due to improved global demand.
The manufacture industry declined by 0.3 per cent during the quarter, influenced mainly by lower output from the sub-categories non-metallic minerals, resulting in a decrease of 0.5 per cent in cement production, and rubber and plastic products, with other plastic products down 18.9 per cent.
Increased output was recorded for animal feeds, up 0.9 per cent; poultry meat, up 1.4 per cent; sugar, up 109.1 per cent; molasses, up 151.7 per cent; fuel oil, up 30.3 per cent, and automotive diesel oil, up 50.2 per cent.
Real value added for the construction industry grew by one per cent, reflecting higher levels of activities in the other construction component due to higher expenditure by the National Road Operating and Construction Company, the telecommunications sub-industry and Jamaica Public Service Company.
increased hotel construction
However, the building construction component declined mainly because of lower levels of residential construction, evidenced by reduced housing starts, fewer housing completions, and declines in the volume and value of mortgages.
The PIOJ director general said the fallout in residential construction was partially mitigated by increased hotel construction.
The electricity and water industry declined by 1.6 per cent. The decrease in electricity consumption reflected reduced sales to residential customers, small businesses, as well as large businesses using more than 500 kilovolt-amperes, while a decline in water production was attributed to the current drought.
The transport, storage and communication sector grew by 1.3 per cent; finance and insurance services by 0.2 per cent, while the wholesale and retail trade, repair and installation of machinery rose by 0.3 per cent.r cent; while the wholesale and retail trade, repair
and installation of machinery rose by 0.3 per
The hotels and restaurants sector increased by
2.7 per cent, reflecting a 3.1 per cent growth in stopover arrivals,
Bullock said, noting that during the review period there were more
visitors from Europe, Canada and the United States.
addition, there was a 24.7 per cent increase in cruise passenger
arrivals, which resulted in a 10 per cent increase in total visitor
Meanwhile, in his report on post-quarter
developments, Bullock said airport arrivals for July were up by about
7.7 per cent, bauxite production increased by 7.8 per cent, and bauxite
exports rose by 22.7 per cent as a result of higher alumina