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Figures produced by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) have shown that inflation slowed in March to 0.5 per cent, compared with 1.4 per cent in January and
2.2 per cent in February, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw told the House of Representatives, on Wednesday (April 21).
Closing the 2010/2011 Budget Debate at Gordon House, Mr. Shaw said this brings inflation for the fiscal year 2009/10 to 13.3 per cent, which is just below the upper end of government’s projections.
“Last fiscal year, when many pundits published private forecasts of anything from 15 per cent to over 20 per cent, the outturn for March proved them all wrong,” he said.
“The sharp slowing in March is a good indicator going forward in achieving a lower rate in 2010/11, consistent with our projections of 7.5 per cent to nine per cent,” he added.
He also stated that since the start of 2010 and up to April 20, the exchange rate appreciated by 0.57 per cent (51 Jamaican cents).
“It appreciated by 0.10 per cent in the March 2010 quarter, which compares favourably with the depreciation of 0.58 per cent in the December 2009 quarter and the 9.40 per cent in the March 2009 quarter. The exchange rate has continually appreciated over the past several weeks and is now at $89.08 to the US dollar,” the Finance Minister said.
Mr. Shaw said that the country also continued to maintain healthy foreign reserves. He disclosed that on April 19, the Net International Reserves (NIR) stood at US$1.78 billion, with gross reserves covering 17.6 weeks of estimated imports of goods and services.
In the meantime, he said data on remittance inflows in February show a 7.4 per cent increase over last February. This follows a reported 1.5 per cent growth in January.