Country’s NIR At US$2.9 Billion

Story Highlights

  • The country’s Net International Reserves (NIR) as at the end of October 2015 stood at US$2.9 billion, putting the country in a better position to withstand external shocks.
  • Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips noted that the NIR in 2013 was approximately US$800 million.
  • The NIR represents contingency funds, which can enable the country to survive severe external shocks, to cope with shifts in investor confidence and natural disasters.

The country’s Net International Reserves (NIR) as at the end of October 2015 stood at US$2.9 billion, putting the country in a better position to withstand external shocks.

Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, who made the disclosure at  the 9th staging of the dialogue for development lecture 2015, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in downtown Kingston, Wednesday, November  25, noted that the NIR in 2013 was approximately US$800 million.

The NIR represents contingency funds, which can enable the country to survive severe external shocks, to cope with shifts in investor confidence and natural disasters.

While the reserves are not credited to the country’s revenues, they provide confidence to the markets that external obligations can be met.

In particular, a country’s reserve holdings represent an implicit guarantee that sovereign debt will continue to be serviced, even in situations where access to new borrowing may be curtailed or become very costly.

The Minister said the country has been experiencing a “return to greater levels of fiscal health,” due to the programmes and policies that have been implemented over the years.

“Our debt has been reduced by 20 per cent. We had a debt to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio in 2013 of 145 per cent of GDP, which is now down to 126 per cent of GDP and should have an out-turn of 120 per cent of GDP by the end of this fiscal year,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that interest charges are trending downward, noting that “there has been a substantial increase in commercial credit and a reduction by 70 per cent of Government borrowing year on year from the financial system.”

Dr. Phillips also noted that inflation has been at its lowest rate in approximately 40 years.

He said that while the country has seen growth, the rates are “not yet at the levels that we would want.”

Dr. Phillips said the growth has been driven by tourism, Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO), agriculture and manufacturing.

He said the Government will continue to work on implementing fundamental transformative elements, which will raise productivity levels in the economy on a sustainable basis.

The lecture, which was organised by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), was held under the theme: ‘Evaluating and Affirming Vision 2030 Jamaica’.

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