Jamaica Economic Forecast

Jamaica Economic Outlook

May 19, 2020

The economy got off to a soft start to the year due to domestic and foreign demand weakness. The tourism sector saw yet another drop in tourist arrivals in January. In the same month, exports plummeted at a double-digit rate for the eighth-consecutive month. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent global lockdown will have weighed on tourism, trade and domestic activity towards the end of Q1 and into Q2. Meanwhile, the supplementary budget announced in mid-May envisages a larger fiscal shortfall due to cyclically shrinking revenues—forcing the government to implement spending cuts—and the IMF approved USD 520 million in emergency financial support.

Jamaica Economic Growth

The economy is seen entering a steep recession this year due to the coronavirus crisis wreaking havoc on global trade and tourism. Economic activity will be further depressed by the closure of the Alpart alumina refinery weighing on exports. The panel sees the economy contracting 4.2% in 2020, which is down 0.5 percentage points from last month’s forecast, before growing 2.0% in 2021.

Jamaica Economy Data

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Population (million)
GDP per capita (USD)5,0424,9765,2065,4945,536
GDP (USD bn)
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)
Consumption (annual variation in %)-  
Investment (annual variation in %)-  
Unemployment Rate13.513.
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-0.3-
Public Debt (% of GDP)12211410194.4-  
Money (annual variation in %)13.413.
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)
Policy Interest Rate (%)
Exchange Rate (vs USD)120.0128.9124.5127.4132.0
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)116.7125.2128.3129.1133.2
Current Account (% of GDP)-3.0-0.3-2.6-1.8-2.0
Current Account Balance (USD bn)-0.40.0-0.4-0.3-0.3
Trade Balance (USD billion)-3.8-3.4-4.2-4.2-4.8
Exports (USD billion)
Imports (USD billion)
Exports (annual variation in %)-13.4-5.313.746.4-19.8
Imports (annual variation in %)-13.9-8.219.811.42.7
International Reserves (USD)
External Debt (% of GDP)99.510099.4104-  

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