June 8, 2020
Jamaica’s Net International Reserves (NIR) totaled US$2,904.49 million as at May 2020, reflecting an decrease of US$228.16 million relative to the US$3,132.65 million reported as at the end of April 2020 (see figure 1).
Changes in the NIR resulted was from an increase in Foreign Liabilities to total US$967.22 million compared to the US$449.03 million reported at the of April 2020. Liabilities to the IMF accounted for 100% of total foreign liabilities, reflecting a US$518.19 million increase month over month from April 2020.
On the other hand, Foreign Assets increased by US$290.03 million to US$3,871.71 million relative to US$3,581.68 million booked at the end of April 2020. ‘Currency & Deposits’ contributed the most to the increase in Foreign Assets. ‘Currency & Deposits’ as at May 2020 totaled US$3,329.15 million reflecting an increase of US$294.50 million compared to US$3,034.65 million booked as at April 2020.
‘Securities’ amounted to US$322.12 million; US$1.30 million less than the US$323.42 million reported in April 2020. Also, ‘SDR & IMF Reserve Position’ decreased by US$3.17 million from US$223.61 million to US$220.44 million booked at the end of May 2020.
At its current value, the NIR is US$169.84 million less than its total of US$3,074.33 million as at the end of May 2019. The current reserve is able to support approximately 55.85 weeks of goods imports or 37.82 weeks of goods and services imports.
The country came in above the benchmark of US$3.155 billion outlined by the International Monetary Fund for March 2020, closing the fiscal year at US$3.24 billion, US$0.09 million above targeted amount.
On May 15, 2020, the Executive Board of the IMF approved Jamaica’s request for access to the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument in the amount of approximately US$520 million. This represents 100% of Jamaica’s quota and the maximum amount available under this facility. Dr. Nigel Clarke indicated that, “The resources approved by the IMF will be extremely valuable in boosting Jamaica’s foreign exchange reserves, and in assisting Jamaica to meet Covid-19 related balance of payments challenges. Our fiscal and monetary reforms have provided Jamaica with options that many countries do not have. Public body reform, inclusive of divestment and reintegration of public bodies, as well as recent fiscal over-performance has provided substantial cash resources that will be deployed to assist in the financing of the fiscal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Net International Reserve (NIR) target outlined as per the new agreement for the 2020/21 fiscal year is US$3.485 billion (see figure 2 above). As at May 2020, the Country is US$0.59 million below the targeted amount.
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