Businesses less optimistic in April
Businesses were less optimistic in April than at the end of 2013.
The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) indices reflecting perceptions about present and future business conditions both rose sharply in February.
But the indices both fell below December levels a little over a month ago, according to the latest central bank survey.
"Notwithstanding, the perception of present and future business conditions has indicated a general upward trend since the April 2013 survey," said the report.
Back then, the indices were both at record low levels.
Businesses continued to indicate that they expect the largest increase in production costs over the next 12 months to emanate from higher cost of utilities.
"The cost of fuel and transport and raw materials were also expected to contribute significantly to higher production costs for the year ahead," said the BOJ report. "Wages and salaries remained the input costs least expected to increase over the next 12 months."
The business condition perception indices were included in a report on inflation expectations, which showed that business owners and senior managers expected inflation for 2014 to come in at 10.9 per cent — lower than in the previous survey.
Respondents to the central bank's survey also expected the value of the Jamaican dollar against the US to fall to $112.20 by the end of June; $114.72 by the end of September; and $117.46 by next April.