By Douglas McIntosh
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) indicate that the country is on track to returning to pre-COVID-19 levels of economic output by 2023.
Minister of finance and the public service, Dr Nigel Clarke, said that achieving the target will place Jamaica “far ahead of our peers in the Caribbean region”.
“We are at 97 percent of our pre-COVID levels of economic output. We went all the way down to 82 per cent, [but are] back up to about 97 percent. [This] is related to the fact that we were able to maintain macro stability through the crisis,” Dr Clarke said.
Consequent, on the strong economic performance, S&P Global Ratings on Wednesday, October 5 affirmed Jamaica’s ‘B+’ rating, while maintaining its ‘Stable’ outlook for the economy.
Minister Clarke, who was addressing the Rotary Club of Kingston’s luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, October 6, said that gross domestic product (GDP) data from the STATIN show that the economy is “performing better than planned”.
STATIN reported that the economy grew by 4.8 percent during the April to June 2022 quarter, relative to the corresponding period last year.
This was attributed to a 7.2 percent increase in the Services Industry, despite the goods-producing industry contracting by two percentage points.
The services industry out-turn resulted from improved performances in all eight subsectors.
‘Hotels and restaurants’ led the way with 56 percent, while ‘wholesale and retail trade, repairs, and installation of machinery & equipment’, rose by 7.6 percent.
Other notable out-turns were ‘transport, storage and communication’, up 5.7 percent; ‘Real Estate, renting and business activities’, up 2.1 percent; ‘Electricity and water supply’, up two percent; and ‘Finance and Insurance Services’, up 1.1 per cent.
Dr Clarke noted that as persons were able to return to work, consequent on the gradual reopening of the economy, Jamaica commenced experiencing recovery at a “very fast clip”, with eight per cent growth in 2022, and a 4.5 percent projection for this year.
“As a result of this recovery, we are experiencing overperformance, which is always a good thing. We have a lot of work to do. But there is no doubt about our trajectory… and [based on] the fact that we have been able to recover so quickly… we can look forward [to] the fruits of the stability that we enjoy,” he said.
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