The real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the Jamaican economy grew by an estimated 1.0 per cent in the April to June 2019 quarter compared with the corresponding quarter of 2018. This out-turn extends the positive growth trend to eighteen consecutive quarters, that is, four and a half years. 

This was announced by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) at its press briefing today (August 26) on the performance of the macro economy for the first quarter of the financial year, April 2019 to June 2019.

The period largely reflected:

  • Increased activity at some industrial plants such as the Petrojam refinery;
  • Increased external demand which drove output in some export industries such as the Hotels & Restaurants;
  • Increased domestic for goods and services driven by the higher levels of employment.

Growth in the economy was however negatively affected by drought conditions, which led to a 2.5% contraction of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry. The winding-down of several major infrastructure projects of the National Works Agency (NWA) – such as the Hagley Park and Constant Road projects – led to a reduction in expenditures by 28.2% to $3.6 billion.

The Services Industry was estimated to have grown by 1.4 per cent, relative to the corresponding quarter of the previous year, reflecting higher Real Value Added in all Industries. This was influenced by electricity expenditurewhich was down 11.0% to $2.5 billion, arising from efficiencies at the Old Harbour power plant which was commissioned last year.

Continual upgrading of water supply facilities led to an increase in expenditure of 4.5% to $921.7 million.

Transport, Storage & Communication grew by an estimated 1.4%, influenced by a 6.1% increase in total air passenger movement which also impacted on Visitor Expenditure, which increased by 10.2% to US$852.7 million.

The Wholesale & Retail Trade; Repair & Installation of Machinery (WRTRIM) industry grew by an estimated 1.0%. Increased output in the industry was supported by growth in real value by 12.2% of ABM & Point of Sale Transactions.

Also within that sector:

  • Agriculture, Food, Beverages & Tobacco were up 28.7%;
  • Motor Vehicles, Auto Repairs & Accessories were up 3.6%;
  • Minerals, Fuels, Lubricants and Petroleum Products were up 3.1%, and
  • Pharmaceuticals, Medical Goods & Cosmetics were up 1.4%.

In the financial sector, the stock of Commercial Bank Loans & Advances to the housing industry increased by 26.7% to $39.7 billion. 

Real Value Added for the Hotels & Restaurants industry grew by an estimated 5.6%, reflecting an increase in Foreign National arrivals which increased by 7.8%. 

Total Stopover Arrivals grew by 8.4% and reflected stronger performance from Jamaica’s main source markets:

  • USA, up 11.8% to 489 016 persons;
  • Europe, up 2.4% to 75 261 persons; and
  • Latin America, up 22.0% to 10 285 persons. 

Stopover Arrivals from Canada, however contracted by 4.8% to 85,712 persons and Cruise Passenger Arrivals, contracted by 23.2% resulting in a 3.0% reduction in Total Visitor Arrivals to 956 209 persons.