The Jamaican dollar ended the year stronger than it started.
It’s one of only a handful of times this has happened in the country’s history. The Jamaican dollar started 2017 at $128.34 for each US dollar.
On December 19, it opened at $125.48. That’s a difference of $2.86; a more than 2-percent appreciation. It’s the first year since 2010 that the currency has revalued. The only other times were in 1996, 1986 and 1972.
The improvement is largely credit to the Bank of Jamaica’s Foreign Exchange Intervention and Trading Tool, B-FXITT, launched in August.
President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, JCC, lists it among the most important economic developments this year.
However, President of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, PSOJ, Howard Mitchell, says consumers aren’t benefiting from lower prices as a result of cheaper imports.
Mr. Mitchell is also concerned that a stronger dollar may make Jamaican products less competitive internationally.
But President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association, Metry Seaga, disagrees. He says the stability in the local dollar has been good for manufacturers.
The questions now are, will the revaluation continue in 2018? How low can it go before the IMF starts raising an eyebrow? And, when will consumers finally start seeing the benefits of a stronger dollar?