Equity Investors Drawn to Jamaica

Jamaica extended its stunning gains in 2015 with strong returns in 2016. The broad market appreciated 13.8% in US dollar terms, based on data from MSCI. That strength is a product of a successful IMF reform program that has now given way to historically high levels of business and consumer confidence. Part of this optimism can be attributed to low oil prices and a buoyant tourism sector, especially as it relates to cruise lines. But the deeper story in Jamaica may be the volume of Chinese money making its way into the economy to fund infrastructure projects, both at the private and public level. One example is the completion of the North-South Highway in 2016 with an estimated outlay of $600 million.

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Beyond Caparra

Turn Right for Roseau

To the uninitiated, the Caribbean can be a mind-boggling array of small islands, with a few large ones in the mix.

Man with Cigar

Become a geographer. Florida and the Caribbean have the same economic heft as Brazil. Our regional set includes the perimeter economies of Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, as well as the Guiana Highlands.

Relative Economic Size

Comments on this blog focus on Florida and neighboring trade partners. By output, we rank the major islands:

1. Puerto Rico ($103 billion)

2. Cuba ($78 billion)

3. Dominican Republic ($64 billion)

4. Trinidad and Tobago ($29 billion)

5. Jamaica ($14 billion)

Florida dominates the region with state-wide GDP of about $770 billion. The largest perimeter economy is Colombia at $378 billion, followed by Venezuela.

Note: Ranking is based on GDP data for 2014 at market prices.

Source: World Bank, US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, Cranganore.