March 8, 2018
Jamaica’s Net International Reserves (NIR) totaled US$3,179.50 million as at February 2018, reflecting a decrease of US$23.86 million relative to the US$3,203.36 million reported as at the end of January 2018 (see figure 1).
Changes in the NIR resulted from a decrease in Foreign Assets of US$28.38 million to total US$3,761.14 million compared to the US$3,789.51 million reported for January 2018. ‘Currency & Deposits’ contributed the most to the decline in Foreign Assets. ‘Currency & Deposits’ as at February 2018 totaled US$3,163.19 million reflecting a decline of US$21.88 million compared to US$3,185.07 million booked as at January 2018.
‘Securities’ amounted to US$325.60 million; US$0.64 million less than the US$326.24 million reported in January 2018. Foreign Liabilities for February 2018 amounted to US$581.63 million compared to the US$586.15 million reported for January 2018. Liabilities to the IMF accounted for 100% of total foreign liabilities, reflecting a US$4.52 million decline month over month from January 2018.
At its current value, the NIR is US$564.24 million more than its total of US$2,615.26 million as at the end of February 2017. The current reserve is able to support approximately 39.93 weeks of goods imports or 23.13 weeks of goods and services imports.
The country surpassed the benchmark of US$2.54 billion outlined by the International Monetary Fund in the 14th Review and Adjusted Agreement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Jamaica and the IMF have entered into a New Agreement to support growth and create jobs with the international body citing, “Jamaica has made good progress under the previous IMF – support program.” As such the entity has approved a new US$1.64 billion loan for the country. According to the IMF the loan is, “despite the toll of weather swings on growth, Jamaica’s unemployment rate is at 8-year low, with record high employment levels. Inflation is modest, and expectations are anchored in the medium-term target range of 4-6%. Non-borrowed net international reserves remain above the program target, supported by robust tourism inflows and a moderate current account deficit.” As such the Net International Reserve (NIR) target outlined as per the new agreement for the 2017/18 fiscal year is US$3.28 billion (see figure 2 above).
Subsequent to the IMF’s visit concluded on December 8th 2017, Uma Ramakrishnan, IMF Mission Chief for Jamaica, stated that “Despite the toll of weather swings on growth, Jamaica’s unemployment rate is at 8-year low, with record high employment levels. Inflation is modest, and expectations are anchored in the medium-term target range of 4-6 percent. Non-borrowed net international reserves remain above the program target, supported by robust tourism inflows and a moderate current account deficit.”