Jamaica’s tourism back on track

Tourism arrivals into Jamaica in April exceeded those for March this year by 4 percent, data out of the Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport shows. The performance is even greater in percentage terms, with April having one less day than March. Significantly, the number of persons passing through the Sangster’s International Airport in Montego Bay climbed to 94.5 percent of the 2019 flows, resulting in a near-normal trade, the first time since February 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

Growth in tourism almost back to 2019 levels in April

The important Easter holidays fell around April 17th this year and the 21st in 2019; there would be no distortion to the numbers due to the holiday period when there would be more visitors to the island.
Incoming and outgoing passengers numbered 401,300 in April, up from 385,700 in March this year and 424,700 in April 2019, the last year before the covid induced fall out in the sector in 2020 data out of operators of the airport, Aeroportuario del Pacifico and published by Tourismanalytics.com show. In 2021 visitor movements through the airport numbered 157,600, or 61 percent less than this year.
The Montego Bay Airport states that the airport accounts for 73 percent of visitors to the island. It is, therefore, good reading on the overall industry movements.
Kinston’s Norman Manley Airport enjoyed an 18 percent jump in arrivals in April over March with 115,900 inward and outward movement, compared to 98,400 in March this year and 45,000 incoming and outgoing passengers in April 2021. No data is available for the Norman Manley Airport for 2019. Kingston had 139 percent more passengers in the four months to April compared to the same period in 2021 and for Montego Bay, there was a “187.5 percent increase from 462,200 in 2021 to 1,329,000 in the first four months of 2022. The 2022 total of 1,329,000 movements was 75.4% of the 1,762,700 passenger movements handled in the first four months of 2019,” Tourismanalytics.com reported.

 

Remittances to Jamaica drop

remittancesJamaica experienced the first big decline in remittances since the huge surge between 2020 and 2021, with a decrease of 10 percent or US$32.7 million to US$295 million in March, this year from $327 million in 2021.
“The significant decline in remittance inflows is partly due to the earlier timing of Easter in 2021 as well as increased cash in hand remittances as travel recovers. Increased cost of living in the main source markets was also a factor,” the release from Bank of Jamaica states.
For January to March 2022, remittance inflows to Jamaica amounted to US$793 million, a decline of 1.4 percent from the first quarter of 2021.

8% jump for Jamaica’s remittances

Remittance inflows into Jamaica climbed 8 percent in February this year over 2021 to $254.7 million at a faster pace than the one percent increase in January 2022 enjoyed over 2021.
The February 2022 inflows are 15 percent higher than the US$243.7 million collected this January thus reversing a marginal US$4 million decline in February 2021 against January of that year. The increase in February continues the strong rise in remittances the country enjoyed since 2020 when it rose by 20.76 percent in 20220 over 2019 and 20.38 percent over 2020.
Remittance inflows for January and February 2022 grew 4.5 percent to US$498.4 million over the similar period in 2021 the Bank of Jamaica report shows.

Remittances inched higher for Jamaica

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Following historical record haul in remittances to Jamaica, the country saw a modest 1.4 percent growth in total remittance inflows for the first month of 2022 compared to January 2021 as a total of US$244.4 million entered the financial system, data recently released by the country’s central bank show.
In January 2021 inflows jumped nearly 33 percent from US$181.5 million. In 2021 inflows for January was the second lowest month of the year, following February that brought in US$236 million. In 2021 remittance inflows grew by US$592 million to US$3.5 billion.
The USA provided the largest amount of inflows accounting for 70.3 percent, up from 69.8 percent in January 2021. The UK contributed 11.1 percent, followed by Canada and the Cayman Islands, with 9 percent and 5.7 percent respectively, the Bank of Jamaica report indicated.

Jamaica’s remittances hit US$3.5B in 2021

Total remittance inflows for December last year rose 6.7 percent to US$321.6 million compared to US$301 million generated in 2020 as total inflows for 2021 ended at $3.5 billion an increase of 20.4 percent or $600 million more than the $2.9 billion in 2020 bank of Jamaica report shows.
Total inflows are up by $1.09 billion over the inflows of $2.4 billion in 2020. The growth in the last two years has been the best since going back to 2007. The rate of increase in the last seven months of 2021 grew at an average of 9.5 percent over the same period in 2020 an indication that growth in 2022 is unlikely to be the average of 20.4 percent for 2021 or the 20.8 percent in 2020 over 2019. If the rate falls to say seven percent which is slightly above the increase in last year’s December total inflows would be in the order of $3.75 billion or $250 million more than for 2021.

Remittances on track to exceed US$3.5B

Remittances inflows to Jamaica surged to US$3.18 billion for the first 11 months of 2021 after pulling in US$274.5 million in November, an increase of 15.6 percent or US$37 million over the comparative period in 2020, data out of the Bank of Jamaica shows.
The performance for November puts the total intake for 2021 above the US$2.9 billion hauled in for January to December 2020. The outturn for 2021 seems set to exceed $3.5 billion for the year when the final numbers are tallied for December.
Based on the performance to date and the consistency of the monthly increase the 2021 inflows seem set to exceed by $1.1 billion the inflows of US$2.406 billion the country received in 2019 and just over $600 million more than the total for over 2020.
Data show Jamaica receiving around $2 billion more inflows in the last two years over and above the trend up to 2019. Between 2007 and 2019 inflows grew around US$1 00 million per annum, with no growth in inflows in 2015, 2017 and 2018. The increase in 2020 and 2021 broke the trend of low growth experienced since 2007.
Persons within the financial sector attribute the increased flows to a number of factors including many Jamaica who lives abroad buying real estate and contributing to the building boom in Jamaica others are of the view that the transfer of funds by the government’s fiscal stimulus to individuals, primarily in the United States is also a big contributor.

Jamaica’s NIR jumps $104m in December

One signal of the health of a country’s international trade can be viewed from the performance of its net international reserves, based on this, the Jamaican economy could be in a pretty decent shape.
Jamaica has seen a bounce in remittances in the country climbing from just $2.4 billion in 2019 to $2.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to touch US$3.6 billion last year. In addition, tourism inflows have bounced back well in 2021, with preliminary data indicating that in December last year arrivals could be down 24 percent against that of 2019 before the disruptions in 2020 started, with all of 2021 down 45 percent on 2019. Bank of Jamaica reported that the country’s net international reserves rose US$104 million in December over November 2021 to close the year at $$4 billion and is up from US$3.1 billion at the end of 2020.

Jamaica’s remittances up again in October

Total remittance inflows climbed a respectable 8.8 percent for an increase of US$24 million to US$296 million, up from US$272 million in 2020.
The increase continues the robust growth remittance inflows enjoyed since May last year. It puts the total inflows for the year to date at US44 million short of the total intake for 2020, when US$2.905 billion was taken in for the year to the end of December. At the pace inflows have grown, the take for the current year could hit a record US$3.5 billion, data released by the Bank of Jamaica is suggesting.

NCB sold US$874 million short

The US dollar peaked against the Jamaican currency in July as reflected in Bank of Nova Scotia selling the currency at the highest rate since June at an average of J$157.3698 on July 29 and Citibank selling at an average of US$157.8402. Last Friday, Bank of Nova Scotia sold the US dollar at an average of J$150.3714 and Citibank at $149.08. The indications are that these rates are likely to decline further, with more net selling by National Commercial Bank as the Jamaican dollar goes through one of its frequent yearly swings, in response to demand and supply of the US dollars.

NCB Financial Montego Bay branch

NCB sold off more than twice the amount of US dollars they purchased into the foreign exchange market, since the beginning of June this year up to Friday last week, with the bank selling US$1,298,524,926 or US$874,064,897 more than the US$424,460,029 purchased from the public. In 2020, NCB sold $900 million US dollars more than they purchased.
Data show that net purchases by NCB took place on only 3 days since the start of August. NCB net sales would include the sale of US dollars that emanated from the conversion of the surplus of other currencies into US dollars. The net position reflects a definitive selling short by NCB, with demand for US dollars waning one source informed ICInsider.com and the view that the situation won’t change before December when demand is expected to dip further and supplies increase.
In contrast to the actions of NCB, Bank of Nova Scotia the second largest foreign exchange trader bought US$511,485,130 and sold US$507,936,088 between the beginning of June and Last Friday, data from Bank of Jamaica shows.
Other developments in the foreign exchange market that could have a marked impact on liquidity are the continuing growth in remittance inflows in 2021 over the record 2020 flows. Bank of Jamaica draining of liquidity in the financial system has led to increasing interest rates on BOJ CDS from under one percent a few weeks ago to nearly two percent this week. Recovery in visitor arrival, with August arrivals approaching 80 percent of arrivals in 2019 and well over that of 2020. Increased exports earnings and of course increased imports cost.

Remittances slow from torrid pace

Jamaica’s remittances inflows slowed from the torrid pace experienced between May, last year to May this year, with an increase in June and July of 10 percent each over the record levels of 2020 with increases of 42 percent and 37 percent respectively in 2020 over 2019 and bringing the year to date growth to 30.4 percent, down from 42 percent to May this year.
According to a release from Jamaica’s Central Bank, June enjoyed inflows of US$303 million versus US$275 million last year and July US$324 million, up from US$293 million in 2020. For the year to July, the country has garnered US$2 billion up from US$1.56 billion for the same period in 2020. Remittances appear on track to hit US$3.5 billion by the end of the year if the recent trend continues which would be US$600 million than last year and US$1.1 billion over 2019.