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The challenge for Jamaica going forward — Bloomberg analysts

Asian newspaper, China Daily, quoting financial research company Bloomberg, says “Jamaican voters returned 48-year-old Prime Minister Andrew Holness to power in a landslide to oversee the nation’s recovery from its worst-ever economic crisis.”

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

Bloomberg on its own website made note of the fact that the new government will take power under COVID- conditions which have torpedoed the global success story represented by the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).

In early November 2019, the Jamaican flag flew alongside that of the United States on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building Wednesday, in tribute to the island’s stock market being the best performing stock exchange in the world in 2018.

It was the second time in four years that the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) was being recognised as the number one performing stock exchange globally, having also achieved the feat in 2015.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange was named as the number one stock exchange in the world twice.

In October, an article on reputed business publication Bloomberg’s website, under the headline “Jamaica’s World-Beating 233% Stock Rally Continues Full Steam”, speaks to the island’s spectacular stock market rally as the best in in five years.

As outlined by Bloomberg, Jamaica has undergone one of the most dramatic turnarounds in emerging markets in recent years, slashing government debt, opening the doors to Chinese investment and getting unemployment down to record levels.

But then came the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has crushed all hopes of growth for the current year and, according to Bloomberg,” “torpedoed” the success story.

Bloomberg said the citizens of Jamaica do not blame Prime Minister Holness for the stock’s recent slump.

Now, the New York-based Nasdaq, which has also been monitoring global exchanges, has made a mid-year check to see how the Jamaican Exchange is doing under COVID conditions.

Asked how COVID-19 is affecting the Exchange’s client base, Street-Forrest said all but four listed companies have experienced reduced prices, which “has led to the lower trade and fee income for brokers and the Jamaica Stock Exchange.”

The Exchange’s market report for the period January 2020 to April 2020 shows all indices down in the range of 14 to 29 per cent.

The overseas analysts say voters on the island of nearly three million people have not blamed Holness for the crash.

Meanwhile, they note that Holness has vowed to make the central bank independent and keep tight curbs on spending during his second four-year term.