Jamaica News: Governor of the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), Brian Wynter, says the prospects for the Jamaican economy are positive, and the Bank projects continued recovery in economic activity.
“The expected growth predominantly reflects an improvement in net external demand, buoyed by increased production in mining and quarrying and expansion in construction and tourism-related activities,” Mr. Wynter said.
He was speaking at the quarterly monetary policy report press conference, held at the Bank’s downtown Kingston offices on November 19.
Mr. Wynter said consumption spending is estimated to have grown for the current quarter, supported by continued strong expansion in consumer credit.
However, he noted that the Bank assesses that gross domestic product (GDP), while improving, will continue to trend somewhat below potential output.
Meanwhile, the Governor said unemployment is at a record low and conditions in the labour market remain promising.
“The unemployment rate declined to 8.4 per cent at July 2018 from 11.3 per cent a year earlier. The fall in the unemployment rate reflected annual growth of 12,800 new jobs and a decline in the size of the labour force,” Mr. Wynter said.
“The Bank of Jamaica is expecting that there will be further improvements in the labour market conditions and employment over the next two years. This could, of course, provide a boost to wages, which could lay the basis for higher inflation in the future,” he added.
Mr. Wynter said the Bank continues to see an encouraging pickup in credit extended by deposit-taking institutions to the private sector.
In this regard, he said the Bank’s decision to hold policy rate unchanged at this time should continue to encourage increased economic activity and job creation, financed by strong growth in credit to the private sector.
On November 16, the BOJ announced its decision to hold the policy interest rate unchanged at two per cent.
This policy decision reflects the Bank’s assessment that inflation will rise close to the upper band of the four per cent to six per cent over the three quarters to June 2019, and will trend, thereafter, to the middle of the target range.
Source: JIS News