NIR at US$1.75 Billion at the end of March


Net International Reserves (NIR) stood at US$1.75 billion as at March 31 reflecting a marginal increase over the US$1.63 billion figure for the same period last year.
Gross reserves amounted to US$2.4 billion, representing adequate coverage of some 17.4 weeks of imports of goods and services.
This was revealed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, as he opened the 2010/11 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on
Turning to balance of payments (BoP) figures for last year, he informed that preliminary data shows that there was improvement.
The current account deficit is estimated to have narrowed sharply by US$1.88 billion to US$912.4 million, which was 7.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and largely reflected a reduction in the merchandise trade deficit, which was complemented by an increase in the surplus on the services sub-accounts. The Minister noted that this improvement is significant as it follows four consecutive years of deterioration.
“For financial year 2009/10, the Bank of Jamaica projects a current account deficit of US$1.06 billion or 8.5 per cent of GDP. This estimated deficit represents an improvement of US$1.39 billion relative to the previous fiscal year. Concurrent with the improved growth outlook, Jamaica is projected to record marked improvement in the current account of the balance of payments. This will stem mainly from the impact of the fiscal adjustment on imports as well as a gradual pick up in remittances. Continued improvement is expected to around 4.0 per cent to 5.0 per cent of GDP over the medium term,” Minister Shaw told the House.
He informed that the Jamaican Dollar remained relatively stable in 2009, depreciating by 0.78 per cent.
“Of significance is the fact that in recent weeks there has been a 0.58 per cent appreciation moving from a high of J$89.77 to the US Dollar on February 18 down to J$89.26 to the US Dollar yesterday (April 7). This reflects the increasing confidence in the market and increased availability of foreign exchange due to the support from the multilateral institutions,” he said.

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