Jamaica’s economic growth has slowed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The country is now projecting to eke out a 0.1% GDP growth rate for the quarter.

That’s according to the latest projections from the Planning Institute of Jamaica, PIOJ.

Director General of the PIOJ, Dr. Wayne Henry, told a media briefing this morning that the low out-turn may continue into 2020.

The PIOJ boss says the services industry is expected to perform well for the period under review. It’s expected to contribute 1-point-2 percentage points to Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product.

However, this was almost eclipsed by a downturn in the goods producing sector.

The biggest blow to Jamaica’s growth for the October to December quarter was the continued shutdown of the Alpart Bauxite Plant and a downturn in the construction sector.

Despite a dramatic turn around in agriculture which grew by 3-per cent in the quarter, the goods producing sector declined by 3-point-8 per cent.

This is expected to negatively impact GDP by 1-percentage point.

However, Dr. Henry says the calendar year ending 2019 will still see reasonable growth.

Dr. Henry says the short and medium term prospects for the economy remain positive, driven partially by tourism and continued recovery in the agricultural sector.

Coronavirus Fears

Meanwhile, the Planning Institute of Jamaica has identified the coronavirus, COVID-19, as packing the potential of being a significant threat to Jamaica’s growth prospects.

COVID-19 has affected more than thirty countries, infecting some 80-thousand people and killing almost three-thousand.

The Jamaican government has stepped up surveillance at the nation’s ports and institute flight restrictions on the Chinese mainland where the virus originated.

Dr. Henry says due to China becoming a major development partner, the COVID-19 outbreak could see a fall in business and consumer confidence.

Dr. Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica.

He was speaking at a media briefing this morning.