Jamaica Economic Forecast

Jamaica Economic Outlook

September 10, 2019

The economy likely lost some steam in the second quarter, after decelerating slightly in the first quarter. Annual visitor arrivals contracted sharply in Q2, likely tied to travel advisories warning of elevated violent crime, while the agriculture sector suffered due to drought. On the external front, the merchandise trade deficit widened in January–May relative to the same time last year, due to a sharp rise in imports which more than offset healthy export growth. More positively, the unemployment rate dipped to a record low in April and annual private sector credit growth was robust in Q2, which should have supported private consumption. Turning to the third quarter, business confidence in July rebounded slightly, which, coupled with lower interest rates, bodes well for fixed investment.

Jamaica Economic Growth

Growth will likely soften this year from 2018’s over one-decade high. A less favorable external environment and slower U.S. economic growth are expected to drag on tourism and export growth. On the other hand, resilient private consumption, thanks to a tight labor market and a more accommodative monetary stance, should support the economy. The panel sees the economy growing 1.7% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 1.6% in 2020.

Jamaica Economy Data

20132014201520162017
Population (million)2.82.82.82.82.8
GDP per capita (USD)5,0984,9495,0274,9745,197
GDP (USD bn)14.213.914.114.114.8
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)0.50.70.91.41.0
Consumption (annual variation in %)-1.0-0.8-0.1-0.11.1
Investment (annual variation in %)5.63.0-4.80.14.6
Unemployment Rate15.313.713.513.211.7
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)0.1-0.5-0.3-0.20.5
Public Debt (% of GDP)139138121114101
Money (annual variation in %)4.24.414.511.929.1
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)9.76.23.71.75.2
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)9.48.33.72.44.4
Policy Interest Rate (%)0.250.250.253.003.25
Exchange Rate (vs USD)106.1114.4120.0128.9124.5
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)99.9111.0116.7125.2128.3
Current Account (% of GDP)-9.6-8.0-3.0-0.3-2.6
Current Account Balance (USD bn)-1.4-1.1-0.40.0-0.4
Trade Balance (USD billion)-3.9-3.8-3.2-2.9-3.6
Exports (USD billion)1.61.41.31.21.4
Imports (USD billion)5.55.24.44.14.9
Exports (annual variation in %)-8.6-8.3-13.4-5.313.7
Imports (annual variation in %)-3.1-4.6-14.6-8.520.4
International Reserves (USD)1.82.52.93.33.8
External Debt (% of GDP)91.210299.810099.6

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