March 9, 2018
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the Jamaican economy grew by 1.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 when compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. According to The Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN, the quarterly improvement in GDP was due mainly to “a 1.2 per cent growth in the Goods Producing Industries and a 1.1 per cent increase in the Services Industries. Within the Goods Producing Industries, all industries with the exception of Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing recorded increased output. All the Services Industries showed improved performance for the period.”
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
The only sector of the economy to record a decline for the fourth quarter was the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Industry, which fell 1.1 percent versus fourth quarter 2016. Other Agricultural Crops which includes Animal Farming, Forestry and Fishing was negatively impacted by heavy rainfall and is the reason for the decline in the sector. However, the fall was offset by a 10.7 percent growth in Traditional Export Crops.
Banana, plantains and coffee production all showed improvement over the fourth quarter. As reported by STATIN, “banana production increased by 13.4 per cent, moving to 17,422.7 tonnes in 2017 from 15,367.1 tonnes in 2016. The production of plantains rose by 10.3 per cent to 12,131.8 tonnes in 2017 from 11,000.9 tonnes in 2016. Coffee production increased by 15.0 per cent.” However, sugar cane production fell off by 21.4 percent due to the negative impact of heavy rainfall.
Mining and Quarrying
In June 2017, Alpart Jamaica commenced operation, helping to push growth in alumina and bauxite production to 11.6 percent and 30.2 percent respectively. Overall the Mining and Quarrying industry grew by 14.7 percent for the fourth quarter.
Improvement within the Food, Beverages and Tobacco and other Manufacturing segments of the manufacturing industry improved, culminating in a 0.3 percent growth in the overall industry. The Food, Beverages & Tobacco subindustry grew by 0.3 per cent. This subindustry was positively impacted by increases in beverages, bakery products and grain mill products. Petroleum refining and paper and paper products also increased for the period. However, chemicals and chemical products and non-metallic mineral product declined.
Construction industry improved on the back of continued expansion in hotel renovation and the building out of office spaces. However, this growth was tempered partially by decline in civil engineering works. Consequently, construction activity increased 0.7 percent for the quarter.
All sectors within the Services Industries recorded increased levels of output: Electricity & Water Supply (0.4%), Hotels & Restaurants (5.8%), Transport, Storage & Communication (0.7%), Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities (0.8%), Wholesale & Retail Trade; Repairs; Installation of Machinery & Equipment (0.5%), Finance & Insurance Services (0.8%), Producers of Government Services (0.2%) and Other Services (1.4%).
The 5.8% increase in the Hotels and Restaurants industry was due to a 13.7 percent increase in foreign national arrivals. This improvement was partly offset by a decline in the average length of stay in hotels and short-stay accommodation. The average length of stay fell to 8.6 nights in 2017 from 9.1 nights in 2016. Contributing to the higher values were increased arrivals from united States of America (15.4%), Canada (13.3%), Europe (9.8) and Latin America (13.9%)
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