Jamaica currency depreciates; T&T appreciates

Jamaica recorded the seventh highest currency depreciation in the Americas based on its double-digit currency slide, a United Nations (UN) group reported recently.

The report was published by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which represents the UN on economic and social issues throughout the region. It acknowledged that the currency was impacted by targets set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the Jamaican government.

“This deterioration of the currency occurred despite the signing of the EFF as there was lingering uncertainty about the economy. While depreciation may enhance competitiveness in some sectors, it placed pressure on the Bank of Jamaica to intervene to prevent too large a deterioration of the currency,” ECLAC stated.

The Jamaica dollar’s depreciation now stands closer to 13 per cent over 12 months ending July, which could see it surpass Colombia.

In June, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, described the Jamaica dollar depreciation as painful but necessary to achieve competitiveness and restore dignity. She indicated on a two-day visit to the island that the currency was overvalued supported by bleeding the reserves.

Most of the region’s 35 nations underwent currency depreciation against the U.S. dollar. But the report blamed domestic issues for the higher pace of the slide in Jamaica.

“In Argentina and Jamaica the reasons were domestic, as they were in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” stated the report entitled Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2014.

“The Jamaican dollar depreciated during the period, against a backdrop of low economic growth, a major fiscal adjustment and relatively low levels of international reserves.”

For 2014, it predicts slim growth of 1.2 per cent based on stronger sector performances in mining and quarrying, agriculture, forestry, fishing, construction, hotels, and restaurants.

The report avoided ranking the depreciation of the Venezuelan currency, as the South American country operates “three official exchange rates at very different parities” since 2014. One rate recorded a near two-thirds depreciation against the dollar year on year.

The section on Venezuela stated “at the time of writing, this rate stood at 10 bolívares to the dollar, approximately 60 per cent higher than the official exchange rate of 6.30 bolívares to the dollar.”

Eleven other countries recorded depreciation in excess of 5.0 per cent over 12 months to March 2014 led by Argentina at 53.9 per cent, Chile at 19.4 per cent, Uruguay at 19.1 per cent, Brazil at 16.3 per cent, Colombia at 10.2 per cent and Jamaica at 10 per cent.

However, Trinidad and Honduras recorded currency appreciation over the same period.

BELIZEAN CENTURIAN FETED DURING HARLEM WEEK SALUTE

Belize-born Caroline Lightbourne walked into the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building recently looking primed for celebration. Joining senior citizens attending the Elders Jubilee Awards Luncheon and marking senior citizens day during the 40-year-old Harlem Week celebrations, she was singled out as the oldest senior among the vast group of elders.

At 105-years-old, the Harlem resident could relate more history than any others marking the occasion. Seated next to 97-year-old James R. Rudd she looked happy and contented when presented with a bouquet, gift bags and platitudes.

Lloyd Williams, of the Uptown Chamber of Commerce showered both elders with compliments and referred to the Panama-hat wearing Rudd as “Macdaddy.”

He said Lightbourne is an honored guest and reputed well-regarded elder in the Harlem community.

Reportedly, she had become accustomed to receiving flowers when her son Ludwig became a boxing champ in the 1950’s.

However, during this historic Harlem Week — which runs from July 27 to Aug. 23 and claims 100 events with more than two million attendees representing the diverse global population – Lightbourne said the accolades were extra special.

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