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An aerial view of New Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: wikicommons)

Jamaica’s NIR inches closer to US$4 billion

An aerial view of New Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: wikicommons)

Jamaica’s net international reserves (NIR) is inching closer to the US$4-billion mark with a big US$529.13-million surge last month.

At the end of August the NIR was US$3.88 billion, an increase of US$529.13 million when compared to US$3.35 billion reported at the end of July 2021. The country’s NIR broke the US$3-billion barrier in February this year.

Notwithstanding the fallout in tourism earnings due to a dramatic decline in visitor arrivals consequent on COVID-19, coupled with lower imports, inflows to the foreign exchange market have remained healthy, as evidence by the robust growth in the country’s NIR Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor Richard Byles have been making the point that foreign exchange inflows have remained robust even in spite of the pandemic.

Governor of the Bank of Jamaica Richard Byles (File photo)

Speaking at his quarterly news briefing in February this year, Byles pointed out that, “Jamaica’s NIR, totalling just under US$3 billion as at February 16, should be ‘quite adequate” to see the country through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis.” Furthermore, the BOJ governor highlighted the dramatic improvement in remittance inflows, which served to cushion the effects of the fallout in tourism on our balance of payments, while private capital outflows were also tempered by a reduction in capital market foreign exchange investments.

Special Drawing Rights and International Monetary Fund (IMF) was up by US$505.52 million to US$722.10 million coming from the US$216.59 million reported at July 2021. Liabilities to the IMF accounted for 100 per cent of Jamaica’s total foreign liabilities, which amounted to US$895.81 million.

International Monetary fund signage at its office in Washington, DC, United States (File photo)

This reflected a month on month decline of US$2.84 million in comparison to the US$898.65 million recorded for July 2021.At its current value, the NIR is US$1.13 billion more than its total of US$2.75 billion reported at the end of August 2020.

The current reserve is able to support approximately 46.13 weeks of goods imports and 32.92 weeks of goods and services imports.