Eco­nomic growth sprouts from agri­cul­ture:

Jamaica Gleaner - - FINANCIAL GLEANER - MCPHERSE THOMP­SON As­sis­tant Edi­tor – Busi­ness mcpherse.thomp­son@glean­

THE AGRI­CUL­TURE, forestry and fish­ing in­dus­try, with a 28 per cent in­crease in out­put, was re­spon­si­ble for the lion’s share of the 2.2 per cent es­ti­mated gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) ex­pan­sion of the Ja­maican econ­omy for the quar­ter to Septem­ber 2016.

Dr Wayne Henry, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Plan­ning In­sti­tute of Ja­maica (PIOJ), said the pace of growth rep­re­sented the strong­est es­ti­mate since April-June 2007.

“Over­all, the pro­jected out-turn largely re­flects the pos­i­tive im­pact of higher lev­els of busi­ness and con­sumer con­fi­dence and in­creased em­ploy­ment lev­els with sup­ported in­creased de­mand,” said Henry at the PIOJ’s quar­terly press brief­ing on the real econ­omy.

He also at­trib­uted it to the im­proved per­for­mance in the economies of Ja­maica’s main trad­ing part­ners, and im­proved weather con­di­tions rel­a­tive to the cor­re­spond­ing quar­ter of 2015 which fa­cili-tated higher lev­els of out­put. This was also re­flected in in­creased con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties with the build­ing of new, and re­fur­bish­ment of ex­ist­ing ho­tel rooms, the build out of of­fice space to fa­cil­i­tate the ex­pan­sion of the busi­ness process out­sourc­ing in­dus­try, and road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and ex­pan­sion works. Henry said, how­ever, that de­spite the over­all pos­i­tive out-turn, the growth per­for­mance was con­strained by pro­duc­tion down­time as­so­ci­ated with main­te­nance ac­tiv­i­ties in the man­u­fac­ture in­dus­try and de­lays in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of sev­eral gov­ern­ment­fi­nanced cap­i­tal projects.

To­tal cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture was 24.9 per cent less than bud­geted dur­ing the re­view pe­riod and 26.4 per cent less than bud­geted for the fis­cal year to Septem­ber, he said.

The goods-pro­duc­ing and ser­vices in­dus­tries are es­ti­mated to have grown by 6.7 per cent and 0.8 per cent, re­spec­tively.

Growth in the agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­ing in­dus­try was largely at­trib­uted to ex­pan­sion of other agri­cul­tural or do­mes­tic crops, which in­creased by 41.9 per cent; tra­di­tional ex­port crops, which was up 22.7 per cent; and post-har­vest ac­tiv­i­ties, which grew 26.9 per cent.

Dr Henry said min­ing and quar­ry­ing grew by two per cent, a re­flec­tion of higher pro­duc­tion of alu­mina, which grew by 9.9 per cent due to higher out­put from Ja­malco in Claren­don and Win­dalco in Ewarton, St Cather­ine.

He said a de­crease in crude baux­ite pro­duc­tion of 37.8 per cent was due largely to a con­trac­tion in de­mand by over­seas re­finer­ies.

Man­u­fac­ture re­mained flat, while the con­struc­tion in­dus­try grew by 1.2 per cent due to in­creased ac­tiv­i­ties in both the res­i­den­tial and non-res­i­den­tial cat­e­gories.

The elec­tric­ity and wa­ter sup­ply com­po­nent grew by an es­ti­mated 2.9 per cent due to an in­crease in elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion and higher wa­ter pro­duc­tion as­so­ci­ated pri­mar­ily to in­creased rain­fall dur­ing the quar­ter.

The trans­port, stor­age and com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try ex­panded by an es­ti­mated 0.8 per cent partly due to in­creased ac­tiv­i­ties at the is­land’s air and sea­ports, re­flected in a 3.5 per cent in­crease in to­tal pas­sen­ger move­ments and a 6.5 per cent in­crease in air cargo move­ments.

The whole­sale and re­tail trade, re­pair and in­stal­la­tion of ma­chin­ery sec­tor rose by an es­ti­mated 0.6 per cent due to higher gross sales, which re­flected in­creased vol­ume and value of ABM and point-of­sale trans­ac­tions, im­proved per­for­mance in the con­struc­tion as well the agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­ing in­dus­tries, and higher em­ploy­ment lev­els, Henry said.

The fi­nance and in­surance ser­vices sec­tor ex­panded by 1.5 per cent, re­flect­ing in­creases in net in­ter­est in­come, rev­enue from fees and com­mis­sions, and in­come on other fi­nan­cial as­sets at com­mer­cial banks and build­ing so­ci­eties.

The ho­tels and restau­rant in­dus­try is es­ti­mated to have grown by 2.3 per cent, re­flect­ing a 2.7 per cent in­crease in stopover ar­rivals com­pris­ing visi­tors from the United States, up 4.1 per cent; Canada, up 1.2 per cent; and the Caribbean, up 3.9 per cent. How­ever, there was a four per cent de­cline in cruise pas­sen­ger ar­rivals dur­ing the quar­ter.

The PIOJ said pre­lim­i­nary data re­vealed that air­port ar­rivals for Oc­to­ber 2016 de­clined by 1.5 per cent rel­a­tive to the same pe­riod last year, while cruise pas­sen­ger ar­rivals in­creased by 2.9 per cent.

For the De­cem­ber quar­ter, PIOJ is pro­ject­ing growth of one to two per cent.

Dr Wayne Henry, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Plan­ning In­sti­tute of Ja­maica.

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