Jamaica Economic Forecast

Jamaica Economic Outlook

January 21, 2020

National accounts data showed that economic growth fell to 0.6% year-on-year in the third quarter, after expanding 1.3% year-on-year in the second quarter. This came on the back of nosediving mining and quarrying activity—which contracted at the steepest rate in over nine years—and the sharpest decline in construction activity in nearly seven years. Meanwhile, growth in the hotels and restaurants sector slowed notably, which was likely linked to the fall in tourist arrivals in the quarter. Looking at data for the final quarter of last year, the economy likely continued to suffer as tourist arrivals declined sharply in October–November compared to the third quarter amid lingering crime-related issues.

Jamaica Economic Growth

Economic growth is expected to moderate further this year. The closure of the Alpart alumina refinery for up to two years for maintenance work will limit output and exports, while weaker U.S. economic momentum is likely to further weigh on merchandise exports and tourism. On the other hand, cheap credit and a still-tight labor market should cushion the slowdown somewhat. The panel sees the economy growing 1.2% in 2020, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 1.7% in 2021.

Jamaica Economy Data

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Population (million)
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 %)
Consumption (annual variation in %)-1.0-0.8-0.1-0.11.1
Investment (annual variation in %)5.63.0-
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)
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)
Policy Interest Rate (%)
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)
Imports (USD billion)
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)
External Debt (% of GDP)91.210299.810099.6

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