KINGSTON, May 26 (JIS):
Jamaica’s inflation rate continues to trend downward, reaching a 50-year low of three per cent at the end of the March 2016 quarter.
Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, says the figure is the lowest since financial year 1966/67.
“It is lower than the 3.7 per cent that was recorded in December 2015 and it is lower than the four per cent that was recorded in March 2015. It was also well below the bank’s target range of 5.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent that had been set for 2015/16 fiscal year,” he said.
Mr. Wynter was addressing the BoJ’s quarterly press briefing on May 26 at the bank’s headquarters, downtown Kingston.
He said a 1.3 per cent fall in consumer prices during the March quarter contributed to low inflation out-turn.
“This fall in prices was mainly influenced by declines in energy and transport-related costs and domestic agricultural food prices. The fall occurred despite exchange rate depreciation of 1.4 per cent for the quarter,” the BoJ Governor noted.
He informed that the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting that inflation continued to decline in April, falling to -0.4 per cent, and pushing the annual inflation rate down to 2.4 per cent.
Mr. Wynter also attributed the low level of inflation to the BoJ’s monetary policy “supported by the strong fiscal policy stance of the Government.”
“This fiscal anchor has proven to be a powerful force for macroeconomic stability. In line with this, inflationary expectations continue to be firmly anchored in single digits,” he said.
He noted that the bank’s latest inflation expectations survey, conducted in February 2016, indicated a slight fall in expected inflation, 12 months ahead, to 4.3 per cent from the 4.4 per cent that was recorded in the December 2015 survey.