Economy expected to return to pre-COVID-19 output levels by 2023

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 per cent 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 per cent. [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 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 Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, 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 per cent during the April to June 2022 quarter, relative to the corresponding period last year.

This was attributed to a 7.2 per cent 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 per cent, while ‘wholesale and retail trade, repairs, and installation of machinery & equipment’ rose by 7.6 per cent.

Other notable out-turns were transport, storage and communication, up 5.7 per cent; ‘real estate, renting and business activities’, up 2.1 per cent; electricity and water supply, up two per cent; 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 2021/2022, and a 4.5 per cent 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.

— JIS

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