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Concentrate on the inflation rate and not the dollar slide - Holness

Sunday, November 17, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - Prime Minister Andrew Holness is urging Jamaicans to focus on the inflation rate and stop worrying about the recent depreciation in the value of the Jamaican dollar.

Addressing the Jamaica Labour Party's Kingston Western constituency conference, a short while ago, Holness said while he understands the concerns about the recent slide in the value of the dollar, Jamaicans need to understand that this is a normal market movement.

According to Holness he has received several messages from Jamaicans concerned about the movement in the value of the dollar.

"It is something that I don't speak on very much because I don't want one misplaced word to in any way affect the rate.

"But I will say this, I have confidence in the economic model that is in place that it will correct itself," Holness told hundreds of cheering supporters as he pointed to the revaluation of the dollar during last Friday's trading session.

"Small but I noticed it. We have seen that the governor of the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has intervened. Obviously they (BOJ) are monitoring the situation very carefully and they are in the best place to determine when and how, and how much they intervene.

"Yes, we are aware of it, yes, we have concerns but we have put in place a new economic model to manage foreign exchange, and it is not just to manage foreign exchange rate but we have now shifted the focus, attention and priority to a more important rate," added Holness.

He said the Government is now focused on the inflation rate because if that runs away Jamaicans will be poorer.

"So, we have been managing the inflation rate and when you see the reports, they are consistent. The inflation rate has been stable and low.

"That is the target and that is what I want you to watch," declared Holness.

He said while the increase in the exchange rate could have an impact on the inflation rate, that is not happening on a one to one relationship in Jamaica.

"For 40 years we have paid attention to the exchange rate. We have valued ourselves through the US dollar... but since 2017 the exchange rate has depreciated for as many days as it has appreciated, meaning that it goes down and it goes up. I want you to have faith in the economic policy," declared Holness


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