Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke says data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) indicates that Jamaica is on track to returning to pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels of economic output by 2023.
Clarke, who was addressing the Rotary Club of Kingston’s luncheon, said that achieving the target by next year, will place Jamaica far ahead of other countries 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 percent, [but are] back up to about 97 percent,” he said, adding this is “related to the fact that we were able to maintain macro stability through the crisis”.
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He said as it relates to the country’s strong economic performance, the US-based Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings on Wednesday affirmed Jamaica’s ‘B+’ rating while maintaining its ‘stable’ outlook for the economy.
Clarke said as such, gross domestic product (GDP) data from STATIN shows 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-turns 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 percent.
Clarke said that as people were able to return to work, and the gradual reopening of the economy, Jamaica commenced experiencing recovery at a very fast rate, with eight percent 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,” he said, adding “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 added.