Finance and Civil Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke said Jamaica’s economy continues to show greater resilience given the country’s modest expansion, despite external economic shocks, in the third quarter of 2019.
Clarke notes that the Jamaica Statistical Institute reported earlier this week that the Jamaican economy grew 0.6% in the June-September 2019 quarter compared to the June-September 2018 quarter.
He argues that modest economic expansion therefore continues despite the closure of the JISCO / Alpart plant in the September 2019 quarter and the corresponding 17.6% drop in production in the important bauxite / alumina sector. Consequently.
âThe closure of JISCO is expected to impact growth in Q3 2019 and is also expected to impact Q4 2019. However, the fact that the economy continues to grow overall, despite a decline of nearly 18% in the critical alumina sector, following the closure of JISCO / Alpart, is driving the improved economic resilience of the Jamaican economy, âClarke said. in a statement today.
The Minister of Finance argued that it is important to place Jamaica in the international context.
âTrade tensions between the United States and China and declining global growth have resulted in lower prices for many commodities, including alumina, iron ore, soybeans and copper. As a result, the IMF predicts that growth in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2019 will be only 0.2 percent on average. Although Jamaica is affected by the same external shocks, our growth in 2019 is above the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. It may not be very heartwarming, but this context is still important.
Clarke noted that the growth of the Jamaican economy in the third quarter of 2019 now makes it 19 consecutive quarters of economic growth, the longest period of uninterrupted economic growth since Jamaica began measuring quarterly growth in 1997.
The previous unbroken period of longest consecutive quarterly economic growth was only 9 quarters, he said.
Looking ahead to the 2020/21 fiscal year, Clarke said it was quite likely that economic growth would return to the previous trajectory before JISCO / Alpart closed.
âThe projection is that economic growth for fiscal year 2020/21 will return to levels above 1%. The government will continue to use all the levers at its disposal to raise growth levels beyond that in the medium term. “