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Jamaica’s economy declined by 18.4% in the 2nd quarter of 2020 GDP shows

KINGSTON, JAMAICA: The Statistical Institute of Jamaica has released growth figures for the second quarter of the year 2020.  The report revealed that the Jamaican economy declined by 18.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 when compared to the similar quarter of 2019. 

This is as a result of declines in both the Services Industries (20.3%) and the Goods Producing Industries (12.7%). 

The performance of the economy was also blamed as “largely due to the negative impact of the continued spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures adopted island wide to limit its spread.”  

Minister of Finance, Dr. Nigel Clarke, tweeted on Friday that, “Today STATIN released official GDP growth figures for June. The economy declined by 18.4%, the worst quarterly decline in Ja’s history. COVID19 has done to Jamaica what no hurricane has ever achieved. We are however a resilient people & with God’s help we’ll recover stronger.”

Other factors named as contributors to the decline in the Jamaican economy were “drought conditions which largely affected the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industry and the continued negative impact of the closure of Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) Alpart on the Mining & Quarrying industry,” the report revealed. 

While the Producers of Government Services industry grew by 0.2 per cent, a total of seven of the eight industries within the Services Industries recorded declines: Electricity & Water Supply (8.7%), Wholesale & Retail Trade; Repairs; Installation of Machinery & Equipment (15.6%), Hotels & Restaurants (85.6%), Transport, Storage & Communication (20.8%), Finance & Insurance Services (5.5%), Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities (5.5%) and Other Services (44.3%).

The Statistical Institute reported further that, “the fall in the Hotels & Restaurants industry was due to declines in the groups: hotels & other short- stay accommodation and restaurants, bars and canteens. The performance of the industry was largely due to the closure of the island’s sea and air ports to incoming passengers between March 21, 2020 and June 15, 2020 to limit the risk of imported COVID-19 cases.  This resulted in a 99.1 per cent decrease in foreign national arrivals which moved from 635,075 in 2019 to 5,570 in 2020.”

Lower levels of output were recorded for all industries within the Goods Producing Industries: Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing (7.9%), Mining & Quarrying (25.2%), Manufacturing (11.8%) and Construction (14.5%).” 

“The performance of the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industry was impacted by drought conditions and reduced demand resulting from the closure of hotels and some restaurants. The Construction industry recorded declines for all groups: building construction, civil engineering and building installation. Lower output levels were recorded for the Manufacturing industry as a result of declines in the sub-industries Food, Beverages & Tobacco (8.6%) and Other Manufacturing (16.5%).”

Jamaica’s top five trading partners for exports are the United States, Canada, Russian Federation, Netherlands and Iceland. The top five import trading partners are the United States, Brazil, China, Japan and Trinidad & Tobago.  The total imports in Jamaica has declined by 29.7% while total exports declined by 31.2%

Jamaica has recorded the fourth most COVID-19 cases in the Caribbean region with an accumulated total of 6,704 cases and 32 per cent recovery as of Friday.  

New cases on the island has substantially increased after the general election of 3 September as well as deaths which is now at 116 as of Friday’s dashboard. A total of 76,504 samples have been tested for the coronavirus virus.

Data source from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.

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