JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica surpassed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Primary Surplus and Net International Reserve (NIR) targets for the October to December 2015 quarter, and is well positioned to pass the 11th economic review for the period.
  • Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chairman, Richard Byles, says the Primary Surplus stood at $66 billion, which exceeded the $60.7 billion target, while the NIR totalled US$2.44 billion, some US$800 million more than targeted.
  • Mr. Byles told journalists that he is equally heartened by other macro-economic outturns, which he said “are pointing in the right direction.”

Jamaica surpassed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Primary Surplus and Net International Reserve (NIR) targets for the October to December 2015 quarter, and is well positioned to pass the 11th economic review for the period.

Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chairman, Richard Byles, says the Primary Surplus stood at $66 billion, which exceeded the $60.7 billion target, while the NIR totalled US$2.44 billion, some US$800 million more than targeted.

Speaking at EPOC’s monthly media briefing at Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited’s head office in New Kingston, on February 23, Mr. Byles said based on those outturns, “unless there is something unforeseen…I expect that we will pass the 11th review by the International Monetary Fund.”

Mr. Byles told journalists that he is equally heartened by other macro-economic outturns, which he said “are pointing in the right direction.”

These include inflation, which came out at -0.4 per cent for January 2016; the trade balance, which was down US$500 million for January and October 2015, over the corresponding period in 2014; a 0.7 per cent decline in employment, which fell to 13.5 per cent in October 2015; and a 2.1 and 10.2 per cent increase  in stopover and cruise ship  arrivals, respectively.

Additionally, Mr. Byles said despite not having the quarterly growth figures for the last quarter of the 2015 calendar year, based on the trend for the preceding periods, “I expect that October to December should come through pretty strongly.”

Mr. Byles  said  that despite the good trend, the concluding January to March quarter of the 2015/16 fiscal year is expected to be “tough for the fiscal targets.”

“We have to move from approximately $60 billion of (the) primary surplus (recorded for the October to December 2015 quarter) to $120 billion. So, in one quarter, we have to do what we have done in three quarters,” the Co-Chairman explained.

Describing this prospect as a “very steep climb,” Mr. Byles expressed the hope that Jamaica will overcome the challenge and  “achieve that $60 billion increase in the primary balance.”