JIS News

Finance Minister, Audley Shaw, has assured that the Net International Reserves (NIR), which is now at US$1.8 billion, is in a healthy shape and is just about the same as it was in December last year.
Addressing the annual general meeting of the U-Drive Association of Jamaica at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston on Thursday (Nov.13), the Minister said that the NIR remains healthy despite the fact that up to December 2007, the country was not faced with the economic turbulence that currently prevails. “Up to December last year, we did not have the economic storm that we are going through now,” he said.
In an effort to stabilise the exchange rate and satisfy demand pressures, the Central Bank on occasion, during the past five weeks, intervened in the foreign exchange market to the tune of US$400 million.
Over that period, the Jamaican dollar slipped by almost five per cent. Despite this level of intervention, the NIR remains relatively strong and the Finance Minister strongly cautioned against the hoarding of foreign exchange, declaring that there is no shortage of foreign exchange in Jamaica. “It does not do anyone any good to do anything to disturb the normal inflows and outflows of foreign exchange,” the Minister declared.
In the meantime, he indicated that critical foreign exchange earners, tourism and remittances, were performing better than last year.
“To the end of September, remittances were just about 7.8 per cent over the same period last year, while tourism, despite the dismal economic environment, has been five per cent ahead over the comparative period last year. It is projected that up to December it will be 5.5 per cent over last year,” the Minister disclosed.

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