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Jamaica | Opposition Bemoans Inept Management of Foreign Exchange Market

PNP spokesman on Finance Mark Golding PNP spokesman on Finance Mark Golding
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday, April 17, 2019: The Parliamentary Opposition has lamented that the foreign exchange market is once again suffering a period of severe shortage of supply of US Dollars coupled with a sharp devaluation of the Jamaican Dollar.

In a media release, PNP spokesman on Finance Mark Golding says the Jamaican Dollar has fallen rapidly in April, from J$125.60/US$1 on April 1, 2019 to $133.79/US$1 yesterday April 16, 2019, or 6.5% in 16 days.

At the same time, businesses in the real sector are complaining that during this period the banking system has not been able to supply their normal needs for foreign exchange.

Shadow Minister of Finance & Planning Mark Golding stated – “This is the third such major disruption to the foreign exchange market in less than a year. It has happened even while the IMF has confirmed that Jamaica has accumulated more than adequate foreign exchange reserves to support a floating exchange rate system."

He said "the inept response of the authorities has facilitated this ‘double-whammy’ of rapid currency depreciation and severe shortage of supply, over and over again. They are allowing the Jamaican Dollar to bounce around like a jack-in-the-box. It is damaging credit arrangements with suppliers, creating great uncertainty, and playing havoc on businesses.”

In the meantime, the Minister of Finance & the Public Service remains silent on the matter, clinging to his position that this situation is just the normal workings of the market, and Jamaicans must get used to it.

The Opposition calls upon the Bank of Jamaica to use the tools at its disposal to bring an end to the disruption to businesses and the economy that it has caused by allowing these sudden and extreme spikes and shortages in the foreign exchange market.

The Opposition also calls on Minister Clarke to review the operation of the foreign exchange market over the past year, and to ensure that a more pragmatic and effective approach is adopted to mitigating temporary supply shortages, so that businesses and consumers are not made to suffer further.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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