Jamaica’s Rating Upgraded from Stable to Positive

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Jamaica News, February 5, 2018

Kingston, Jamaica (JIS) — Jamaica’s Rating Upgraded: Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the country’s rating has been upgraded from ‘stable’ to ‘positive’ by the international rating agency, Fitch, as a result of macroeconomic improvements.

He said these include the further reduction in unemployment to a 10-year low at 10.3 percent; stabilisation of the Jamaican dollar, which revalued to $125.50 against the US dollar up to Friday (February 2); growth in the tourism and business process outsourcing industries; and a construction industry that is “literally booming”.

The Minister was speaking at Thursday’s (February 1) signing ceremony for €9.17 million (US$10 million) in grant funding under the European Union-Caribbean Investment Facility (EU-CIF) for the Government’s energy management and efficiency project, at the Ministry in Kingston.

Jamaica’s Rating Upgraded: additionally, Mr Shaw said the debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is poised for further reduction and is expected to close the 2017/18 fiscal year below 105 percent.

“We are moving in a very aggressive way to deal with all the fundamental issues that collectively militate against business and consumer confidence and investments (and by extension, growth).
We have to make sure that we do the necessary things to make our country more appropriately aligned with global standards,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, representatives of several of Jamaica’s multilateral and development partners have welcomed the news of the country’s macroeconomic progress and upgraded rating.

Jamaica’s Rating Upgraded: the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) General Manager, Country Department, Caribbean Group, Therese Turner-Jones, noted that the out-turns show that Jamaica has “come a long way”.

She said the Fitch announcement also indicates how far Jamaica has progressed in terms of reducing debt and improving the overall macroeconomic environment.

“So, I think we are all extremely proud of that – the IDB especially, because we have been working with you on this for the last five years. I think the future is bright,” Mrs Turner-Jones added.

For his part, visiting Director-General for International Cooperation and Development in the European Commission, Stefano Manservisi, said he is “very happy” with Jamaica’s progress, which has contributed to the improvement in the country’s global rating.