October 8, 2020
Jamaica’s Net International Reserves (NIR) totalled US$2,747.49 million as at September 2020, reflecting a decrease of US$11.90 million relative to the US$2,759.39 million reported at the end of August 2020 (see figure 1).
This significant change in the NIR resulted from a US$31.81 million decrease in Foreign Assets which total US$3,713.37 million compared to the US$3,745.18 million reported for August 2020. ‘Currency & Deposits’ contributed the most to the decrease in Foreign Assets. ‘Currency & Deposits’ as at September 2020 totalled US$3,182.55 million reflecting a decrease of US$20.11 million compared to US$3,202.66 million booked as at August 2020.
‘Securities’ amounted to US$307.87 million; US$9.90 million less than the US$317.77 million reported at August 2020. While, ‘SDR & IMF Reserve Position’ amounted to US$222.95 million; US$1.80 million less than the US$224.75 million reported at August 2020. Liabilities to the IMF accounted for 100% of total Foreign Liabilities; this amounted to US$965.88 million which reflected a month on month decrease of US$19.91 million in comparison to the US$985.79 million recorded for August 2020.
At its current value, the NIR is US$350.56 million less than its total of US$3,098.05 million reported at the end of September 2019. The current reserve is able to support approximately 53.56 weeks of goods imports and 36.28 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. 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 September 2020, the Country is US$0.74 million below the targeted amount.
Governor of the Bank of Jamaica Richard Byles, at the annual Caribbean Economic Forum in June 2020 indicated that amidst the massive fallout occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is enough foreign reserves to fulfil Jamaica’s debt obligations. Byles said that among the raft of measures engaged in mitigating the effects of the pandemic such as the pumping of millions in liquidity into the market, the US$520 million in emergency funding accessed under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rapid financing instrument (RFI) among others, have all helped to keep the economy going.
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