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Jamaica: Economy#

The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which accounts for nearly 80% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Remittances and tourism each account for 30% of GDP, while bauxite/alumina exports make up roughly 5% of GDP. The bauxite/alumina sector was most affected by the global downturn while the tourism industry and remittance flow remained resilient. Jamaica's economy faces many challenges to growth: high crime and corruption, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 140%. The attendant debt servicing cost consumes a large portion of the government's budget, limiting its ability to fund the critical infrastructure and social programs required to drive growth. Jamaica's economic growth rate in the recent past has been stagnant, averaging less than 1% per year for over 20 years. Jamaica's onerous public debt burden is largely the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably to the financial sector. In early 2010, the Jamaican Government initiated the Jamaica Debt Exchange to retire high-priced domestic bonds and reduce annual debt servicing. Despite these efforts, debt continued to be a serious concern, forcing the government to negotiate and sign a new IMF agreement in May 2013 to gain access to approximately $1 billion additional funds. As a precursor, the government instigated a second National Debt Exchange in 2012. The IMF deal requires the government to reform its tax system, eliminate discretionary tax exemptions and waivers, and achieve an annual surplus of 7.5%, excluding debt payments, to reduce its debt below 100% of GDP by 2020. The SIMPSON-MILLER administration now faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline to maintain debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious crime problem that is hampering economic growth. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade. The IMF approved a four-year $932 million Extended Fund Facility arrangement for Jamaica in May 2013.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$25.13 billion (2013 est.)
$25.03 billion (2012 est.)
$25.15 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - real growth rate0.4% (2013 est.)
-0.5% (2012 est.)
1.4% (2011 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$9,000 (2013 est.)
$9,000 (2012 est.)
$9,100 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 6.5%
industry: 29.4%
services: 64.1% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line16.5% (2009 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 35.8% (2004)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 17%
industry: 19%
services: 64% (2006)
Exports - commoditiesalumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel, mineral fuels
Exports - partnersUS 48%, Canada 7.2%, Slovenia 4.2%, Netherlands 4.1%, UAE 4.1% (2012)
Agriculture - productssugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; shellfish
Budgetrevenues: $3.826 billion
expenditures: $4.088 billion (2013 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfood and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials
Imports - partnersUS 36.1%, Venezuela 15.6%, Trinidad and Tobago 10.8%, China 4.8%, Mexico 4% (2012)
Exchange ratesJamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar -
99.83 (2013 est.)
88.751 (2012 est.)
87.196 (2010 est.)
87.89 (2009)
72.236 (2008)
Exports$1.775 billion (2013 est.)
$1.747 billion (2012 est.)
Debt - external$13.82 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$14.09 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Fiscal year1 April - 31 March
Imports$5.559 billion (2013 est.)
$5.905 billion (2012 est.)
Industrial production growth rate1.5% (2013 est.)
Industriestourism, bauxite/alumina, agricultural-processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications
Inflation rate (consumer prices)9.4% (2013 est.)
6.9% (2012 est.)
Labor force1.261 million (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate16.3% (2013 est.)
13.7% (2012 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index45.5 (2004)
37.9 (2000)
Public debt123.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
132.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
Current account balance-$1.583 billion (2013 est.)
-$1.905 billion (2012 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.981 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$14.39 billion (2013 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$6.39 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$7.223 billion (31 December 2011)
$6.626 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Central bank discount rate2% (31 December 2010 est.)
NA% (31 December 2009 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate17% (31 December 2013 est.)
17.63% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$7.197 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$7.351 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.671 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.723 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money$5.928 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$6.239 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues26.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 86.6%
government consumption: 15.7%
investment in fixed capital: 21.2%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 34.5%
imports of goods and services: -58.4%
(2013 est.)
Gross national saving10.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
8.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
7% of GDP (2011 est.)