Jamaica Economic Forecast

Jamaica Economic Outlook

March 17, 2020

Economic momentum appears to have ebbed in the final three months of last year. Tourist arrivals fell sharply as the sector continued to feel the pinch from lingering crime-related issues. Moreover, increasing inflationary pressures—inflation reached a five-year high in December—could have dragged on private consumption. More positively, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in October since current records began over eight years ago, which should have propped up household spending somewhat. Turning to this year, economic activity likely remains muted. Although inflation eased somewhat in January, it remained the second-highest reading in over two years, while the outbreak of the coronavirus and first confirmed cases are likely weighing on the already-depressed tourism sector.

Jamaica Economic Growth

Economic growth is expected to remain lackluster this year as the closure of the Alpart alumina refinery for up to two years should weigh on output and exports while weaker economic growth in the U.S. will further drag on exports and tourism. Moreover, the outbreak of the coronavirus poses an additional downside risk. The panel sees the economy growing 1.2% in 2020, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 1.7% in 2021.

Jamaica Economy Data

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Population (million)
GDP per capita (USD)4,9495,0424,9765,2065,494
GDP (USD bn)13.914.214.114.815.7
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)
Consumption (annual variation in %)-0.8-
Investment (annual variation in %)3.0-
Unemployment Rate13.713.513.211.79.1
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-0.5-0.3-
Public Debt (% of GDP)13812211410194.4
Money (annual variation in %)4.414.511.929.114.5
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)
Policy Interest Rate (%)
Exchange Rate (vs USD)114.4120.0128.9124.5127.4
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)111.0116.7125.2128.3129.1
Current Account (% of GDP)-8.0-3.0-0.3-2.6-1.8
Current Account Balance (USD bn)-1.1-0.40.0-0.4-0.3
Trade Balance (USD billion)-3.8-3.2-2.9-3.6-3.5
Exports (USD billion)
Imports (USD billion)
Exports (annual variation in %)-8.3-13.4-5.313.746.4
Imports (annual variation in %)-4.6-14.6-8.520.410.9
International Reserves (USD)
External Debt (% of GDP)10299.510099.4104

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