#Jamaica, May 27, 2022 – Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor, Richard Byles, says the economy has been “doing well”, largely based on the latest growth and employment out-turns.
Speaking during the BOJ’s digital quarterly media briefing on Tuesday (May 24), Mr. Byles referenced data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), showing that the economy grew by 6.7 per cent during the October to December 2021 quarter.
He said this out-turn was indicative of improving economic activity, noting that the level of growth recorded during the period was faster than that for July to September 2021.
“For the year 2021/22, the Bank expects real GDP (gross domestic product) growth to be in the range of seven to 10 per cent,” the Governor said.
Mr. Byles further indicated that growth in 2022/23 is projected to be in the range of two to four per cent.
“The Bank expects that this GDP growth will continue to be driven by the services industry, particularly tourism. The forecast also assumes that production at one of Jamaica’s main alumina plants [JAMALCO], which had been temporarily closed, will resume by June 2022,” he said.
Mr. Byles highlighted the fall in the unemployment rate to a historic low of 6.2 per cent, based on STATIN’s January 2022 labour force survey, as “an exceptional performance, by any measure”.
He noted, however, that the economy “is not yet out of the woods”, citing the impact of the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the emergence of a firth wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He pointed out that conflict “has fueled further significant increases in international commodity prices and has contributed to a substantial rise in global and domestic inflation”.
With inflation tracking above the upper end of the Bank’s four to six per cent target, Mr. Byles said the BOJ is cautiously optimistic that there could be some respite in sight, “provided that geopolitical tensions [between Ukraine and Russia] do not escalate”.
The rate of inflation for the 12-month period ending April 2022 was 11.8 per cent.
The Governor noted that while already high international commodity prices are expected to increase further over the next few months, the global consensus forecast is for a fall during the second half of 2022, influencing a decline in inflation among the country’s trading partners.
“Jamaica’s inflation is expected to follow a similar pattern, rising in May and June, but falling in the second half of the year. After carefully considering all the risks around this outlook, it is our view that the Bank of Jamaica should continue its programme of monetary tightening until we have seen the projected turn in inflation materialise,” he noted.
The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted earlier this month to increase the policy rate by a further 50 basis points, to five per cent, effective May 20, 2022.
Mr. Byles said this decision was based on the BOJ’s forecast for further increases in inflation over the next two months, before the rate begins to decline.
“This forecast is, however, conditional on our assumption that tensions between Russia and Ukraine do not escalate and inflation among Jamaica’s trading partners fall,” he added.
Mr. Byles said the Bank anticipates that these measures will continue to cause interest rates on deposits and loans to rise further, “making savings in Jamaican dollars more attractive, relative to foreign currency assets, and borrowing in Jamaican dollars more expensive”.
“In turn, these measures will help to reduce the demand for foreign currency, leading to continued stability in the exchange rate, and will reduce demand in the economy, limiting the ability of businesses to pass on price increases to consumers,” he pointed out.
Contact: Douglas McIntosh
USA Caribbean Investment Forum: Partnering for Sustained Development in the Caribbean 2023 Event Recap
The USA Caribbean Investment Forum took place over two days last week at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square. The event, hosted by the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) in partnership with representatives of the CARICOM Consular Corps (namely, the Consulates General of Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Antigua & Barbuda), brought together government officials, investment promotion agencies, entrepreneurs, and business leaders from the Caribbean diaspora to connect, engage in thoughtful discussions, and explore investment opportunities throughout the Caribbean.
Fostering International Collaboration
The event featured distinguished speakers and representatives from both the US and Caribbean governments. Consuls General Mr. Mackie Holder (Barbados), Mr. Jerome Andre Laveau (Trinidad & Tobago), and Mr. Rondy McIntosh (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) along with Jeanette Moy, Commissioner of the NYS Office of General Services, Edward Mermelstein, NYC Commissioner of International Affairs, and Molly Bauer, Industry Development Associate from the NY Governor’s Office, shed light on the initiatives that New York City, which is home to so many Caribbean Diaspora, is implementing to support economic collaboration between the regions.
Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism & Ports, Cayman Islands, and Chair of Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Hon. E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance, Trade and Investment, Turks and Caicos Islands delivered insights via keynote speeches and held candid discussions during panel and Q&A sessions. The event served as a unique opportunity to communicate in an open and honest forum with two esteemed leaders from the Caribbean about investing in the region.
Promoting Investment Opportunities
CAIPA welcomed representatives from Invest Barbados, Invest Dominica, Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC), InvesTT (Trinidad and Tobago), Invest Turks and Caicos, St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA), Invest St. Lucia, Invest St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Bahamas Investment Authority, the Curacao Investment and Export Promotion Agency (CINEX), and the Sint Maarten Ministry of Tourism, Economy, Transport and Telecommunications, to discuss various opportunities for investment in their respective countries and how their agencies support and facilitate potential investors.
Private sector companies including the St. James School of Medicine, Century21 Guyana, Ethniv, and Homestrings joined the forum to discuss their current active projects in the Caribbean. They detailed how they’ve worked with local governments and institutions to successfully launch and operate their businesses in the Caribbean, along with the potential opportunities for continued growth.
Understanding How Caribbean Financial Institutions Facilitate Investment
The Forum brought together key representatives from Caribbean financial and economic development institutions: IDB Lab (Ms. Magdalena Coronel, Chief Investment Officer), the National Commercial Bank Jamaica LTD (Mr. Jeffrey Brown, Head, Loans Structuring and Syndications), USAID (Mr. Mervyn Farroe, USAID representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean), and the Caribbean Development Bank (Ms. Lisa Harding, Private Sector Development Specialist) to detail how these organizations facilitate and support private investment in the Caribbean.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet directly with CAIPA member countries during business meetings. These one-on-one conversations were valuable opportunities to speak directly with key stakeholders in order to advance projects and forge direct relationships.
The inaugural USA Caribbean Investment Forum was a great success due to the collaboration and engagement from individuals representing a wide range of sectors, organizations, and countries – all united under the goal of driving economic growth in the Caribbean and taking advantage of the enormous opportunities available in the region. https://www.investincaribbean.org/news-center/sign-up-for-our-newsletter to sign up for our newsletter.CAIPA and the representatives of the CARICOM Consular Corps are proud to have facilitated these conversations and supported deepening of relationships with key stakeholders throughout the US and the Caribbean. We look forward to our next event, which will be held on 6-8 March in Miami (Caribbean Logistics Investment Conference 2024) – focused on attracting investments into logistics and transportation by sea and air as well as e-commerce logistics and industrial logistics parks throughout the Caribbean. Stay tuned for more details! If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the CAIPA mailing list, please visit:
Early-Childhood Institutions in St. Catherine Get Time Clocks
#Kingston, September 26, 2023 – Two early-childhood institutions in Kitson Town, St. Catherine, have received 15 time clocks each from educator, Jillian Wray-Robinson, with support from Food For the Poor (FFP).
Speaking at the handover of the clocks at the Kitson Town Basic School on September 25, Ms. Wray-Robinson said they are an important resource for the young students and can help them learn to value time.
“This is where my Foundation was dug, and as an educator, I am giving back and taking the time to invest in the future. It is very important; time is money and money is time, and if they learn how to read the clock, it will become of importance to them,” she said.
Principal of the school, Charline Nathon, said she was grateful for the items, noting that the donation was timely.
“I am sure the children will use it to the best of their ability. The clock is what we are doing in the curriculum – they learn to read the clock,” the Principal said.
Speaking at the handover of the clocks at the Old Road Early Childhood Centre, Ms. Wray-Robinson told the audience that her daughter spent her first year of formal education at the school, and it was a delight to assist them in obtaining the 15 items.
“After carefully looking at the curriculum, I know it will be useful to them (students). School begins on time, and ends with time, and we want our children to learn how to read the clock, and how to tell the time,” she said.
Principal of the school, June Maxwell, said the clocks will help her students, and “we will truly use the resources to the best of our knowledge, and ability”.
Contact: Garfield L. Angus
CTO mourns the passing of former chairman Obediah Wilchcombe
#BARBADOS (September 26, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) deeply mourns the loss of distinguished Bahamian leader and former chairman of the inter-regional body, Obediah Wilchcombe.
“We extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Minister Wilchcombe’s family, as well as the government and people of the Bahamas. He was a true champion for the people of the Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region,” remarked Kenneth Bryan, CTO Chairman and Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands.
Chairman Bryan recalled Minister Wilchcombe held the position of CTO Chairman twice (2002-2004 and 2016-2017) while serving as Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, and contributed significantly to the advancement of sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean.
Chairman Bryan noted that the CTO plans to honor the life and legacy of “this eminent Bahamian leader” at the organization’s upcoming business meetings and the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Turks and Caicos next month.
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