JIS News

Jamaica’s performance under the economic programme set out in its agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has been better than expected, with the economy even over-performing in several areas.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, made this announcement in the House of Representatives, today (March 18), when he gave an update on the country’s performance review, as assessed by the IMF team, which has been in the island for the past 10 days.
He pointed out that underlying the success of the end of March test is the continued improvement in the economy with the Net International Reserves (NIR) at US$1.716 billion as of May 17, and gross reserves at US$2.379 billion, covering 17 weeks of imports. Meanwhile, interest rates have been falling, and inflation moderating, Mr. Shaw said.
“The relative market stability in the period following the approval of the Stand-By Agreement contributed to the achievement of quantitative performance criteria on net international reserves and net domestic assets of the Bank of Jamaica, with margins. As regard fiscal performance, all quantitative targets have been met,” he stated.
The Minister said the domestic debt exchange launched in January had yielded a larger than expected savings on the Government’s interest bill, and that following the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX), credit rating agencies had upgraded the country’s sovereign debt rating.
“Eurobond prices on sovereign bonds have rallied, and the treasury bill rates have fallen to around 10 per cent, the lowest since 1982. One private sector source anticipates that by next year, interest rates will be the lowest since 1972,” Mr. Shaw told the House.
“In light of these developments, the government of Jamaica is pleased to report that performance under the IMF Stand-By Arrangement is on track,” Mr. Shaw emphasised.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister said the updated Letter of Intent to the IMF is to be published on the websites of the Ministry and the Bank of Jamaica, in order to keep domestic and international agents informed about the government’s policy actions and intentions. “The Letter of Intent, once established, is not a static means that as we go along timely revisions are made in accordance with the outcomes,” he explained.
Mr. Shaw said the government will maintain the fruitful dialogue it has had with the IMF, and will consult with the Fund on the adoption of measures and in advance of revisions to the policies contained in the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies.

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