Jamaica surpasses IMF targets yet again

epoc co chair byles

Co-Chairman of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles said the IMF primary surplus and Net International Reserve targets have been more than met.


KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday February 25, 2016 – Jamaica has again surpassed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Primary Surplus and Net International Reserve (NIR) targets and is well positioned to pass the 11th economic review for the period.

That’s according to Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chairman, Richard Byles, who said that for the October to December 2015 quarter, the country’s Primary Surplus stood at $66 billion, which exceeded the $60.7 billion target, while the NIR totalled $2.44 billion, some $800 million more than targeted.

Byles said based on those outturns, “unless there is something unforeseen…I expect that we will pass the 11th review by the International Monetary Fund.”

He told journalists that he is equally heartened by other macro-economic outturns, which he said “are pointing in the right direction.”

These include inflation, which came out at -0.4 per cent for January 2016; the trade balance, which was down US$500 million for January and October 2015, over the corresponding period in 2014; a 0.7 per cent decline in employment, which fell to 13.5 per cent in October 2015; and a 2.1 and 10.2 per cent increase in stopover and cruise ship arrivals, respectively.

Additionally, Byles said that despite not having the quarterly growth figures for the last quarter of the 2015 calendar year, based on the trend for the preceding periods, he expected that October to December “should come through pretty strongly.”

At the same time, he said, the concluding January to March quarter of the 2015/16 fiscal year is expected to be “tough for the fiscal targets.”

“We have to move from approximately $60 billion of (the) primary surplus (recorded for the October to December 2015 quarter) to $120 billion. So, in one quarter, we have to do what we have done in three quarters,” the EPOC Co-Chairman explained.

Describing this prospect as a “very steep climb”, Byles expressed the hope that Jamaica will overcome the challenge and achieve the primary balance.

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