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Jamaica Economic Forecast

Jamaica Economic Outlook

February 18, 2020

The economy likely remained muted in the three months ending in December, after economic growth fell to an over two-year low in the third quarter. Lingering crime-related issues continued to haunt the tourism sector: Tourist arrivals again fell at a sharp annual rate in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, in October the unemployment rate dropped to the lowest rate since the Statistical Office’s current records began in January 2011. This should have buttressed private consumption somewhat and cushioned the economic slowdown. Meanwhile, the government tabled a contractionary FY2020–21 budget in mid-February, which will continue to constrain public spending. However, the planned increase in security spending could aid the tourism sector by extension. Moreover, continued fiscal prudence saw Fitch Ratings revise up its outlook from stable to positive in late January.

Jamaica Economic Growth

Economic growth is expected to remain broadly stable this year compared to last year. The closure of the Alpart alumina refinery for up to two years due to maintenance work will hit output and exports, while weaker economic momentum in the U.S. is also expected to weigh on merchandise exports and tourism. However, cheap credit conditions and a still-tight labor market should support the economy. 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)2.82.82.82.82.9
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 %)0.70.91.41.01.9
Consumption (annual variation in %)-0.8-0.10.11.10.7
Investment (annual variation in %)3.0-4.80.14.65.7
Unemployment Rate13.713.513.211.79.1
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-0.5-0.3-0.20.51.2
Public Debt (% of GDP)13812211410194.4
Money (annual variation in %)4.414.511.929.114.5
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)6.23.71.75.22.4
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)8.33.72.34.43.7
Policy Interest Rate (%)0.250.253.003.251.75
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)1.41.31.21.42.0
Imports (USD billion)5.24.44.14.95.4
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)2.52.93.33.83.5
External Debt (% of GDP)10299.510099.4104

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